Girl Picture (Tytöt Tytöt Tytöt), directed by Alli Haapasalo, is a Finnish coming-of-age romance that undisputedly sits at the top of my list of favorite films to screen at Outfest LA Film Festival 2022. Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen) are best friends approaching the end of high school with a lot of uncertainty. Mimmi is desperately trying to find pleasure in sex and relationships while Rönkkö is just as badly trying to avoid intimacy. Until Emma (Linnea Leino) comes along and changes everything for her.
Off the bat, Girl Picture surprised me because I completely assumed that Mimmi, the shy pretty girl was the one who was going on a relationship-based journey and that Rönkkö, the rebellious one would be on a self-discovery yarn. I was entirely wrong and I think that was step one in activating my affinity for this movie. Reversing these expectations led to what otherwise is a pretty standard coming-of-age/romance formula to feel fresh.
I became quickly invested in both of their struggles and enjoyed watching their character archetypes go through the kind of journey you typically would have expected from the other. Emma too is a character I quickly enjoyed just as much. My only disappointment with her is that I don’t feel like she had as much growth as a character as the other two did, despite being just as important of a perspective throughout.
Mimmi is struggling with something that not only do you not ever see on-screen, but rarely really talk about in real life either. She’s unsure whether she can ever find pleasure in sex or romance. Her journey throughout Girl Picture takes her in a lot of directions trying to figure this out. Is it a problem of just not having enough experience or the right partner? Does she just need to be more direct with her partners about what she wants?
I’m not in love with how every one of these trials plays out, some leave me feeling like they give off the wrong message or that she’s at fault when obviously she isn’t. But as a whole, she’s always fun to watch as she babbles on awkwardly and continues to try her hand at sex. It’s a really important and moving journey to watch and I was certainly satisfied by how it concluded.
Rönkkö feels like she’s really the star of the show though. She struggles with commitment and affection, is laden with mother issues, and is the total opposite of Mimmi where she absolutely does not talk enough. Girl Picture is pretty standard as far as its plot goes, its drama, especially as far as Rönkkö is concerned, is predicated almost entirely on poor communication with Emma. But Kauhanen’s acting and a tight script make it all into a great rendition on the classic formula.
She’s intense, has great bursts of emotion, and her chemistry with Leino (and MIlonoff for that matter) does quite well. She’s self-destructive and sometimes rather hurtful, but Rönkkö and Emma are just such a good enemies to lovers/opposites attract pair that you can’t help but root for them anyway.
As for Emma, she’s a competitive figure skater and is working towards the European Championship but cannot land her signature move. For all the ways I enjoyed her relationship with Rönkkö and the way she grows into it, I don’t feel like she ever really had the kind of breakthrough growth moment I was expecting out of the skating side of her life. I do admire that its depicted in a pretty healthy way with a coach that treats her like a human and implores that she’s allowed to have other things in her life too. But none of the moments I anticipated satisfaction from in that realm ever came to be and I don’t think they were really replaced by anything unexpected either. It just felt like a plot device with little payout.
Girl Picture is a familiar affair with a role reversal executed excellently. I was deeply invested in the two leads’ struggles from the start and was totally enthralled by the emotional highs and lows of both their plots equitably. While Emma left a bit to be desired character-wise, she still had me just as emotionally invested as everyone else from beginning to end. This was an excellent end to my 159 film journey at Outfest LA 2022 and I can’t’ wait for it to hit U.S. theaters later this summer.
Girl Picture screed as part of Outfest LA Film Festival 2022 and will be playing in select theaters beginning August 12th.
Girl Picture is a familiar affair with a role reversal executed excellently. I was deeply invested in the two leads’ struggles from the start and was totally enthralled by the emotional highs and lows of both their plots equitably. While Emma left a bit to be desired character-wise, she still had me just as emotionally invested as everyone else from beginning to end. This was an excellent end to my 157 film journey at Outfest LA 2022 and I can’t’ wait for it to hit U.S. theaters later this summer.