(Norway 2014)

Four high school age boys in Oslo—Kim (Louis Williams), Gunnar (Ole Nicolai Myrvoid Jorgensen), Ola (Halvor Tangen Schultz), and Seb (Havard Jackwitz)—are not very different from most boys their age. They do things like steal hood ornaments from cars, get trashed at school dances, and stalk girls. They love the Beatles, so much that they each adopt a Beatles persona and hatch a plan start a band, the Snafus.

Based on Lars Saabye Christensen’s novel, Beatles is a sugar and salt (the name of a Snafus song) coming of age film. It’s sappy nostalgia celebrating a simpler time—think The Wonder Years with a cooler European bent. Set during the late Sixties, it hits a universal note that stops it from sliding into oversentimental dreck. I love all the Beatles references, and how well the film captures the feel of total devotion to a pop star. One scene in which the four boys stop everything to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the day it comes out is gold; it reminds me so much of my own idols in the MTV era. Performances are strong all around. Beatles is not the kind of thing I usually go for, but it is easily one of my favorites from the festival.

(St. Anthony Main) B+

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival