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Show Me Love (film)

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Show Me Love
Theatrical release poster
SwedishFucking Åmål
Directed byLukas Moodysson
Written byLukas Moodysson
Produced byLars Jönsson
CinematographyUlf Brantås
Edited by
Distributed bySonet Film
Release date
  • 23 October 1998 (1998-10-23) (Sweden)
Running time
89 minutes
BudgetSEK 9 million
Box office2.1 million admissions[1]

Show Me Love (Swedish: Fucking Åmål) is a 1998 Swedish romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Lukas Moodysson in his feature-length directorial debut. It stars Rebecka Liljeberg and Alexandra Dahlström as two seemingly disparate teenage girls who begin a tentative romantic relationship. The film was released theatrically in Sweden on 23 October 1998,[2] and premiered internationally at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

It received an overwhelmingly positive reception[3] and won four Guldbagge Awards (Sweden's official film awards) at the 1999 ceremony. Its international awards include the Teddy Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival,[4] and the Special Jury Prize at the 34th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The film was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 71st Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.

The Swedish title refers to the small town of Åmål in Västra Götaland County, western Sweden. However, only a few scenes were filmed in Åmål,[5] and they were not included in the final product. Primary filming took place in the nearby town of Trollhättan, the location of producing company Film i Väst's studios.[6][7]


Two girls, Agnes and Elin, attend school in the small town of Åmål, Sweden. Elin is outgoing and popular but finds her life unsatisfying and dull. Agnes, by contrast, has no real friends and is constantly depressed. Agnes is in love with Elin but cannot find any way to express it.

Agnes's parents worry about their daughter's reclusive life and try to be reassuring. Her mother decides, against Agnes's will, to throw a 16th birthday party for her. Agnes is afraid no one will come. Viktoria, a girl in a wheelchair, shows up and Agnes shouts at her in front of her parents, telling her they are friends only because no one else will talk to them. Agnes, overcome with anger and depression, goes to her room and cries into her pillow shouting that she wishes she were dead, while her father tries to soothe her. Viktoria leaves and Agnes's family eats the food made for the party.

Elin arrives at Agnes's house, mainly as an excuse to avoid going to another party, where there will be a boy (Johan, played by Mathias Rust) she wants to avoid. Elin's older sister, Jessica, who comes with her, dares her to kiss Agnes, who is rumoured to be a lesbian. Elin fulfills the dare and then runs out with Jessica, only to soon feel guilty for having humiliated Agnes.

After becoming drunk at the other party, Elin gets sick and throws up. Johan tries to help her and ends up professing his love to her. Elin leaves Johan and the party, only to return to Agnes's house to apologize for how she acted earlier. In doing so, Elin stops Agnes from cutting herself. She even manages to persuade Agnes to return with her to the other party. On the way, Elin shares her real feelings about being trapped in Åmål. She asks Agnes about being a lesbian and believes that their problems could be solved by leaving Åmål and going to Stockholm. On impulse, Elin persuades Agnes to hitchhike to Stockholm, which is a five-hour journey by car. They find a driver who agrees to take them, believing them to be sisters who are visiting their grandmother. While sitting in the back seat, they have their first real kiss. The driver sees them and, shocked at the behaviour of the two 'sisters', orders them to leave the car.

Elin discovers that she is attracted to Agnes but is afraid to admit it. She proceeds to ignore Agnes and refuses to talk to her. Elin's sister Jessica sees that she is in love and pushes her to figure out who it is. To cover the fact that she is in love with Agnes, Elin lies, pretending to be in love with Johan, and loses her virginity during a short-lived relationship with him. Elin eventually admits her feelings, when, after a climactic scene in a school bathroom, they are forced to 'out' their relationship to the school.

The film ends with Elin and Agnes sitting in Elin's bedroom drinking chocolate milk. Elin explains that she often adds too much chocolate until her milk is nearly black. She must fill another glass with milk and mix it and that her sister Jessica often gets mad that she finishes the chocolate. Elin has the last word saying "It makes a lot of chocolate milk. But that doesn't matter".


  • Alexandra Dahlström as Elin Olsson
  • Rebecka Liljeberg as Agnes Ahlberg
  • Erica Carlson as Jessica Olsson
  • Mathias Rust as Johan Hulth
  • Stefan Hörberg as Markus
  • Josefine Nyberg as Viktoria
  • Ralph Carlsson as Agnes's father, Olof
  • Maria Hedborg as Agnes's mother, Karin
  • Axel Widegren as Agnes's little brother, Oskar
  • Jill Ung as Elin's and Jessica's mother, Birgitta


The original title of the film, Fucking Åmål, refers to the girls' feelings about their small town: In a key scene, Elin shouts in desperation "varför måste vi bo i fucking jävla kuk-Åmål?" (which roughly translates to "why do we have to live in fucking bloody cock-Åmål?").[8]

According to Moodysson, the problem with the original title started when the film was Sweden's candidate for the Academy Awards, though eventually it was not chosen as a nominee.[9][10][11] The Hollywood industry magazine Variety refused to run an advertisement for Fucking Åmål. Thus, American distributor Strand Releasing asked for a new title. Moodysson took the new title from the song at the end of the film, by Robyn.[8] Distributors in other native English-speaking countries then followed suit.

  • German: Raus aus Åmål, lit.'Out of Åmål [i.e. leaving the town]'
  • Spanish: Descubriendo el Amor ("Discovering Love")
  • Portuguese: Amigas de Colégio ("School Friends")
  • Czech: Láska je láska ("Love is Love") The Czech title is based on a Lucie Bílá song of the same name, which references homosexuality.[12][8]
  • Russian: Покажи мне любовь (Pokazhi mne lyubov, "Show Me Love")
  • Hebrew: F- Åmål[8]
  • English: Show Me Love[8][13]
  • French (Canada): Qui Aimes-Tu? ("Who do you love/like?")[14]


Political controversy[edit]

Even before the film was completed, it created controversy in the town of Åmål. Local politicians campaigned to get the title changed because they argued that it would show the town in an unfair way and even undermine it as an economic centre.[10] Further pressure was brought on the makers of the film, the Film i Väst studio, who are partly financed by Swedish local authorities, including Åmål.

However, the local complaints had no effect on the content or release of the film. Since the release, the town of Åmål has tried to embrace the publicity generated, despite the fact that the town's name is missing from the English title. In the early 2000s the town founded the pop music "Fucking Åmål Festival."

Critical and commercial response[edit]

Fucking Åmål received the highest audience figures for a Swedish film in 1998–9, with a total audience of 867,576 and a total audience for the whole of Europe of 2.1 million.[1] It grossed $6.5 million in Sweden and $3 million in Norway.[15] Some international reports stated that the film had outgrossed the Hollywood film Titanic in Sweden.[16] In fact, Titanic had over twice as many viewers as Show Me Love in Sweden in 1998.[17]

Show Me Love has an approval rating of 91% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews, and an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus states: "A naturalistic depiction of teenage life, Show Me Love has a charming, authentic feel".[3] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generaly favorable reviews".[18] It is among the top ten of the British Film Institute list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.[19]

The film received consistently good reviews, including the realism and credibility of its portrayal of what it is like to be a teenager in a small town in the 1990s. In addition, the efforts of the young actors were praised. Jan-Olov Andersson at Aftonbladet felt that Dahlström's and Liljeberg's imaginative appearance and interaction was "sensationally credible", and Bo Ludvigsson at Svenska Dagbladet wrote that it was "a warm, strong and confident film about the courage to be human". Ludvigsson also believed that Fucking Åmål, with its storytelling drive, leave and authenticity, was well above most of the Swedish films of recent years. Anders Hansson at Göteborgs-Posten thought that director Moodysson with fairly ordinary elements created "a film with unusual rise".[2]

Autostraddle placed it at number one on its "Top 10 Best Lesbian Movies" list.[20]

Cultural impact[edit]

According to Russian singer Lena Katina, producer Ivan Shapovalov was inspired to create the pop duo t.A.T.u. after the release of this film.[21] The track "Show Me Love" is featured in their album 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane.

The creators of the 2018 Netflix series Everything Sucks! called the film the "biggest influence" on that show's creation.[22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
1999 Amanda Award Best Foreign Feature Film Fucking Åmål, director Lukas Moodysson Won [23]
Best Nordic Feature Film Lukas Moodysson Nominated
Atlantic Film Festival Best International Feature Lukas Moodysson Won
Berlin International Film Festival C.I.C.A.E. Award - Recommendation (Panorama) Lukas Moodysson Won
Teddy Award - Best Feature Film Lukas Moodysson Won [4]
British Film Institute Awards Sutherland Trophy - Special Mention Lukas Moodysson Won
Manaki Brothers Film Festival Special Jury Award Ulf Brantås Won
Cinema Jove - Valencia International Film Festival Golden Moon of Valencia Lukas Moodysson Won
European Film Awards Best Film Lars Jönsson Nominated
Flanders International Film Festival Ghent Student Jury Award Lukas Moodysson Won
Grand Prix Lukas Moodysson Nominated
Guldbagge Awards Best Film Lars Jönsson Won [24]
Best Director Lukas Moodysson Won [24]
Best Screenplay Lukas Moodysson Won [24]
Best Actress in a Leading Role Alexandra Dahlström
Rebecka Liljeberg
Won [24]
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Ralph Carlsson Nominated
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Audience Award Lukas Moodysson Won [25]
FICC - The Don Quixote Prize Lukas Moodysson Won [25]
Special Jury Prize Lukas Moodysson Won [25]
Crystal Globe Lukas Moodysson Nominated
Kyiv International Film Festival "Molodist" Best Full-Length Fiction Film Lukas Moodysson Won
FIPRESCI Lukas Moodysson Won
Youth Jury Award - Full-Length Feature Film Lukas Moodysson Won
Verzaubert International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Rosebud - Best Film Lukas Moodysson Nominated
2000 Bodil Awards Best Non-American Film Lukas Moodysson Nominated
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Film – Limited Release Lukas Moodysson Nominated
International Film Festival Rotterdam MovieZone Young Jury Award Lukas Moodysson Won [26][2]


The film's soundtrack was released through Metronome Records and consists of songs in English and Swedish language. Swedish band Broder Daniel, who contributed three English language songs to Fucking Åmål, saw a spike in popularity after the film's release. The band also released an EP titled Fucking Åmål.

Fucking Åmål/Musiken Från Filmen
Label: Metronome Records
Format: CD, compilation
Country: Sweden
Released: 1998
1."Önskelista" (dialogue from the movie)   0:19
2."Drifter"Henric de la Cour & YvonneHenric de la Cour & YvonneYvonne3:53
3."Whirlwind"Henrik BerggrenHenrik BerggrenBroder Daniel4:36
4."Varför Måste Vi Bo I Fucking Jävla Kuk-Åmål?" (dialogue from the movie)   0:04
5."No Dinero No Amor"J. Hällgren & J. SagrénJ. Hällgren & J. SagrénBetty N' Boop3:11
6."Jag Vill Knarka!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:09
7."Blue Sky Black"  Evelyn2:58
8."Sa Hon Det?" (dialogue from the movie)   0:33
9."När Vi Två Blir En"Per GesslePer GessleGyllene Tider3:05
10."Jag Vill Inte Va' Med Henne!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:04
11."U Drive Me Crazy"Hogblad & LehtonenHogblad & LehtonenWaldo's People3:19
12."Fan Va' Du Är Snygg!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:10
13."Fantasy Dreamworld"Stigsson & RickstrandStigsson & RickstrandCombayah3:26
14."Fantasi För Elorgel #34"  Karl-Heinz Glockmann1:00
15."Adagio Per Flauto; Archi Ed Organo" (arrangement by Remo Giazotto) Tomaso AlbinoniGunilla Von Bahr & Stockholms Kammarensemble8:40
16."Vi Är Så Jävla Coola!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:10
17."I Want To Know What Love Is"Mick JonesMick JonesForeigner5:05
18."Funny Bunny Boy"Lindgren and FromLindgren and FromEvelyn3:40
19."Hallå!?" (dialogue from the movie)   0:15
20."Danny's Dream"Lars SöderbergLars GullinLars Gullin5:31
21."I'll Be Gone"Henrik BerggrenHenrik BerggrenBroder Daniel3:39
22."Jävla Lebb!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:07
23."Simplicity"Nordlund, Danielsson, Karlsson and AnderssonNordlund, Danielsson, Karlsson and AnderssonSouls3:17
24."...Vi Ska Gå Och Knulla!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:34
25."Underground"Henrik BerggrenHenrik BerggrenBroder Daniel2:50
26."O'Boy!" (dialogue from the movie)   0:43
27."Show Me Love" (title track)RobynMax MartinRobyn3:27
Total length:60:45

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Film #8161 : Fucking Åmål". Lumiere. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Fucking Åmål". Swedish Film Database. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Fucking Åmål (Show me love) (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. 3 June 1998. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Fucking Åmål" (in Swedish). Teddy Award. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  5. ^ Wangeby, Robert (13 October 1998). "Smygpremiär på Fucking Åmål". Provinstidningen Dalsland.
  6. ^ "Locations in Västra Götaland". Film i Väst. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  7. ^ Sahlin, Fredrik (12 August 1998). "FUCKING JÄVLA KUK_ÅMÅL!". Nöjesguiden (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e Krach, Aaron (20 October 1999). "INTERVIEW: From "Fucking Åmål" to "Show Me Love": Scandinavian Smash Comes To America". Interview. IndieWire. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  9. ^ Edmunds, Marlene (1 November 1998). "Swedes 'Love' Oscar". News. Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  10. ^ a b Griffiths, Gareth (2007). "An Åmål State of Mind". City + Cinema: Essays on the Specificity of Location in Film. Retrieved 27 May 2015 – via Academia.edu.
  11. ^ "45 Countries Submit Films for Oscar Consideration". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 19 November 1998. Archived from the original on 19 February 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ "Fucking Amal-Show Me Love Interviews & Reviews". F-amal.Weisenbacher.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013.
  13. ^ Rehlin, Gunnar (25 October 1998). "Fucking Amal". Reviews. Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  14. ^ Show Me Love (1998) - Release info - IMDb, retrieved 13 February 2023
  15. ^ Buddrus, Petra (1 September 2000). "Moodyson follows up early promise". Screen International. p. 31. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (24 March 2000). "Show Me Love movie review & film summary (2000)". Roger Ebert Website. Archived from the original on 26 May 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Film #8001 - Titanic". Lumiere. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  18. ^ https://www.metacritic.com/movie/show-me-love?ftag=MCD-06-10aaa1c
  19. ^ "Debate produces list of films that children should see". Watch This. British Film Institute. 2005. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  20. ^ "Top Ten Best Lesbian Movies: 10 Queer Movies That Don't Suck". Autostraddle. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  21. ^ Chernitsyna, Maria (22 December 2011). "Lena Katina: I have been choosing the father of my unborn child for a long time" Лена Катина: Я долго выбирала ОТца моего будущего ребенка [Lena Katina: YA dolgo vybirala ottsa moyego budushchego rebenka]. ru:Караван Историй (in Russian). pp. 105–129. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  22. ^ "The creators of Netflix's 'Everything Sucks!' told us how they made the 'sleeper hit' series on a tiny budget, and still managed to pack in all those 90s songs". Business Insider. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  23. ^ "Winners of The Amanda Award 1985–2016" (PDF). Norwegian International Film Festival. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 May 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  24. ^ a b c d Honeycutt, Kirk (7 July 1999). "'Show Me Love'". The Hollywood Reporter. Vol. 358, no. 28. p. 5. ISSN 0018-3660.
  25. ^ a b c "Zaverecna tiskova zpava" Z ÁV?RE?NÁ TISKOVÁ ZPRÁVA [Final press release] (PDF) (Press release) (in Czech). Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. 1999. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Awards 2000 - IFFR". International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved 15 April 2020.

External links[edit]