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Director: Alli Haapasalo
Writers: Ilona Ahti, Daniela Hakulinen
Stars: Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, Linnea Leino

Mimmi, Emma and Rönkkö are girls on the cusp of femininity trying to draw their own contours. On three consecutive Fridays, two of them experience the heartwarming effects of falling in love, while the third goes on a quest to find something he’s never experienced before: pleasure.

The third feature from Finnish filmmaker Alli Haapasalo (Love and Fury, Force of Habit) offers a vibrant and evocative take on the seemingly typical teen-starring romantic drama. While comparing it to Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart threatens to set the wrong expectations, this wonderfully acted romp is a more canny brand of crowd-pleaser on its own merits.




Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) and Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen) are best friends who work together after school at a mall milkshake restaurant, all the while pining for a more exciting life and navigating the tribulations of young romance.

For out-of-the-ordinary punk Mimmi, everything changes when she meets headstrong ice skater Emma (Linnea Leino), but the pair must examine their own distinct anxieties if love is to triumph. Mimmi carries family baggage with her, while Emma’s more strained commitment to skating and ongoing crisis of confidence threaten to drive a terminal wedge.

Meanwhile, Rönkkö pursues a more sensual experience overall; she has never experienced an orgasm with a member of the opposite sex. Is it simply a case of never finding the right guy, or is there a bigger awakening afoot?




Like most worthwhile films about the existential brutality of the teenage experience, Girl Picture agrees to embrace the awkwardness of those formative years; the overwhelming, heady feelings, those unsettling nascent sexual encounters, and, in the case of Rönkkö, the fragile egos of teenagers. Everything, good and bad, is informative and leads these three young women towards the adults they are sure to become.

Like Booksmart, there’s an undertone of sweetness to this no-nonsense movie, never mind that it periodically diverges into sidebars about semen and other things most movies would only whisper under their breath. Mimmi and Emma’s romance, in all its intricate complexity, is especially endearing; as a result, it’s incredibly easy to support them. Perhaps almost inevitably, Rönkkö’s sexual adventure doesn’t land with quite as much of an impact.



Throughout, however, Haapasalo frames his tripartite character study as a hymn to the things and people that make life better, even if they don’t strictly define your existence, and the breathless pursuit of them from hormonal youth on up. “Love the people, but be prepared to call them out on their shit,” seems to be the positive missive of the film, of overcoming fear and uncertainty on your own, but letting people into your heart too.

All of this might seem a bit trite without three solid performances to back it up, and luckily Haapasalo certainly has that in Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, and Linnea Leino. Milonoff takes center stage as the charmingly offbeat Mimmi, but all three girls are together in all of their utterly compelling scenes as young women grappling with the mysteries of life as they skirt the cusp of adulthood.

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