Norwegian teen comes of age in 'Turn Me On, Dammit!'
A review of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's movie "Turn Me On, Dammit!," in which adolescence — after all — turns out OK.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Turn Me On, Dammit!,' with Helene Bergsholm, Malin Bjørhovde, Henriette Steenstrup, Matias Myren. Written and directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, based on the novel by Olaug Nilssen. 76 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity and sexuality). In Norwegian with English subtitles. Varsity.
Countless movies have been made about the sexual yearnings of teenage boys, but Norwegian filmmaker Jannicke Systad Jacobsen's "Turn Me On, Dammit!" is a rarity: a comedy about a teenage girl's budding sexuality, treated with wit and kindness. Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is almost 16 and lives in a remote small town in Norway that's so dull, the kids routinely give the finger to their town's name on signs. (Even its one grocery store is eerily quiet.) Driven by hormones, and with little else to do, Alma constantly fantasizes about sex (most frequently about local boy Artur, played by Matias Myren) — and routinely runs up big bills with the phone-sex company "Wild Wet Dreams," where the male operators know her by name.
The film is short and slight, with its plot shaped by an event early on: After an oddly sexualized encounter with Artur at a party, Alma tells her friends what happened and is quickly given an obscene nickname and ostracized at school. An outcast, Alma travels to Oslo to visit a friend's older sister, and there is encouraged to be herself: Growing up and moving on, she's told, will be the best revenge.
Though far franker about sex than an American film might dare be, "Turn Me On, Dammit!" is really just a simple coming-of-age tale, seeming at times like a Norwegian version of a Judy Blume book-turned-movie. Quirky details perk it up, like the way Alma's friend is constantly, defiantly applying lip gloss, as if it's a gun that perpetually needs reloading. Adolescence is indeed dangerous — but, as this film cheerfully shows us, things tend to turn out OK.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org