It’s no “Twilight”: “Let the Right One In” explores the love between a boy and a vampire
At its heart, “Let the Right One In” is a love story.
One paramour is a 12-year-old boy. The other is a vampire.
If the premise sounds like a bit like “Twilight” for ‘tweens, fugeddaboutit. “Let the Right One In” transcends fantasy flick stereotypes.
Oskar, a quiet, unprepossessing boy with milk-pale skin and blond bangs, doesn’t look like the type to stir up trouble. But it seems to follow him, everywhere, the form of school bullies who taunt him with cries of “Piggy.”
He has no friends, no siblings and a frequently absent working mom. So when a strange, beautiful girl (Lina Leandersson) appears in the courtyard of his drab apartment complex, Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) sweetly, subtly befriends her.
Eli, it turns out, is the perfect companion for the shy Oskar. She encourages Oskar to strike back at his tormentors. She even offers to be his girlfriend.
Yet Eli is no ordinary girl.
Oskar seems blissfully unaware of the string of murders plaguing his suburban neighborhood, or the strange behavior of Eli’s guardian, who sets out every night with a knife, a funnel and a bucket. He shows little surprise when Eli climbs, barefoot, into his second-story bedroom. And he never questions her grubby clothes and blood-smeared mouth.
Love must be truly blind.
Set against a bleak, white and bitterly cold Swedish winter, “Let the Right One In” keeps squeamish moments to a minimum — opting to focus on the winsome relationship between its young leads.
Like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” this is a children’s fairytale with adult sensibilities. Although older kids could watch “Let the Right One In” with little fear of nightmares, only grownups will appreciate the film’s delicate treatment of divorce and the first timid, tender stirrings of young love.
This is, after, a love story. But how many love stories feature an ordinary boy and an eternally 12-year-old girl?
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