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Turn Me On, Goddammit!

Turn Me On, Goddammit

Released 7 December 2012
Director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen

Helene Bergsholm, Malin Bjørhovde, Beate Støfring, Matias Myren, Lars Niordveit Listau
Writer(s) Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Producer(s) Brede Hovland
Origin Norway
Running Time 76 minutes
Genre Comedy

Happy ending.

It's a rare thing indeed when a coming-of-age film focuses so promiscuously on an adolescent girl's sexual maturity. Usually, the teenage fixation on sex centres around boys in popular culture but, let's face it, they aren't the only ones with lively libidos. Turn Me On, Goddammit! is a refreshing, bittersweet but often funny look at a fifteen year-old's struggle to deal with her new and exciting desires but also how easy it can be to be socially unaccepted in those hormone-driven school years.

Highschool blonde Alma is your everyday teenager in a small town in Norway, except perhaps for one thing – her explosive sex drive. Unable to control herself she regularly has phone-sex with a high-cost service number and enjoys racy fantasies about her classmate crush, Artur. But when cool kid Artur refuses to admit that he fooled around with Alma at a party, she quickly becomes a social outcast. To compound matters, if being shunned at school wasn't enough, her mother is disgusted when she learns of her wandering mind, embarrassed to hear her daughter's antics every night. When the pressure becomes so much that it's almost at breaking point, Alma decides she's had enough and leaves for Oslo, desperate to escape her troubled life.

Masked by the honest portrayal of a young woman's obsession with her imaginative mind and expressive body, this rather innocent film is actually a lot about romance and the unique thrill derived from a first taste of what love means. It also deals with how inexplicably easy it is to fall out of the inner circle at that age, with the seemingly smallest thing escalating into a nightmare that can define the rest of your state education. Frequently, these can be years that define you for the rest of your life and from courageous Alma to her two friends – one rebellious, one intent on being Ms. Popular – these themes are outlined with humorous and poignant accuracy alike.

Debut actress Helene Bergsholm is excellent in the lead role and is backed up by a superb support cast. The acting is simple but it doesn't need to be melodramatic, it wouldn't befit the story or the comedic slant. Despite touching on some hard-hitting issues, there are some really funny moments to enjoy. These range from giving her hometown welcoming sign the finger and the elderly neighbour who intrusively spies on everything, to her best friend Saralou's pen pal letters to Texan inmates on death row fuelling her bizarre longing to end capital punishment.

Some may be offended by the sometimes graphic nature of a fifteen year-old's sexual tendencies but if you do, you're missing the point. For most, Turn Me On, Goddammit! is bound to hit the right spots.

- David Caulfield