TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Stupid Young Heart’

TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Stupid Young Heart’

Just like Little Wing, Stupid Young Heart has young characters coming of age while being around problematic father figures. The young people are Lenni (Jere Ristseppa) and Kiira (Rosa Honkonen), two fifteen year olds having an unexpected child. Lenni, who, in the drama’s first scenes, sports a Bieber cut, and no one takes him seriously. But this newer feature mixes up those archetypes by adding another problematic father figure in Janne (Ville Haapasalo). He uses mixed martial arts to groom Janne into becoming a neo-Nazi. Director Selma Vilhunen sets all of this under the neon lights of Helsinki. A city where young people like Lenni can feel alone and brood. Where he can be susceptible to negative ideas of what being a man is.

I can sense this drama being on the receiving end of a small backlash. After all, its trajectory demands for Lenni’s redemption and change. Sure, there are tweaks that Vilhunen should do with characters like Lenni. But the perfect handling of racist characters is a thing that won’t please everyone. Depiction has never been the same as glorification. Besides, the movie carefully shows their nebulous transformations. Kiira becomes a responsible young woman while Lenni has a skinhead phase. Kiira sees him without hair and knows what it means. It makes Kiira break up with him and that he can see the kid once in a while. The film asks questions about racism and doesn’t answer all of them. Which is, obviously, not its job to do.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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