Turn Me On, Dammit!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
Finally here is a wonderful film about the trials and tribulations of a teenage girl and her desire. It's really no wonder that the critics (94% Certified Fresh Rating at Rotten Tomatoes) have warmly embraced "Turn Me On Dammit" because there really is no american film like it. The originality the critics have embraced is based on the fresh perspective of the director (a woman of course) who gracefully tells the story of a teenage girl who struggles with her sexual fustrations and her relationships. I encourage all women (and everyone else) to check out this fresh take on growing up as a teenage girl. As a teenager it does not matter if you are a woman or a man because this is an experience that is universal.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A teenage girl struggles with an obsessive sexual nature in this Norwegian film. She becomes an outcast in her school, and the mother is concerned about her daughter's odd behavior. This movie portrays real-life problems that kids have to deal with in any nation, so American kids should appreciate it. The movie approaches the borderline of inappropriate content without crossing it. These could be high school girls in any movie made here in American film, as they deal with peer pressure, sex, and trying to fit in with their classmates. This is a good movie for those that like to see quality foreign films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In the opening scene of this refreshing movie that addresses adolescent sexuality from a girl's perspective, the lead character, Alma (Helene Bergscholm) , a 15-year-old teenager, is lying on a kitchen table and pleasuring herself to phone sex. This sets the scene for the rest of the movie which explores Alma's desires, her raging hormones, and her sexual awakening. (Note: The film is in Norwegian with English subtitles as an option, and there are some explicit scenes).

Alma's sexual escapades are explored with unabashed frankness, and the sex scenes are credibly dealt with. Alma's hormones are depicted as being totally off kilter to the point that sex is all she thinks about, "I want a hammer inside of me..." You get the picture. But then an encounter with a local boy changes things in Alma's life and she becomes the talk of the town, and not in a good way. The local kids call her "Dick Alma", and the girl becomes a social pariah.

It might be a bit shocking for some viewers because this is after all a 15-year-old girl who is depicted smoking hash cigarettes and drinking alcohol, but the issues dealt with are very real, and are explored in a realistic, down-to-earth manner. This film is very different to what one comes across in Hollywood films. Movies like American Pie dealt with adolescent sexuality from a boy's point of view, and a slew of Hollywood movies have explored the subject, but mainly from the male perspective. This is why "Turn Me On, Dammit!" is unique, as it doesn't shy away from portraying female sexuality with a level of candidness not common in American cinema. There's drama and humor aplenty, and the wonderful performance by the lead actress makes this a noteworthy production well-worth one's time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Boys will be boys, but, so far as this boy is concerned, I'm forever glad that girls will be girls. Why? Well, for starters, because that gives us boys something to talk about. Generally speaking, I find it much easier to strike up a conversation with a girl than I do a guy. And, in point of fact, if there were no girls, there would eventually be no boys, either! So ... delving into the mind of the fairer sex shouldn't be all that frightening or treacherous. It can be downright refreshing, especially if TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is any indication.

(Note: the following review will contain minor spoilers solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you want a spoiler-free assessment, you can head on down to the final two paragraphs. There. You've been warned.)

Alma (played by Helene Bergsholm) isn't your typical teen in a small Norwegian town. All of a sudden, she's blossoming into womanhood, and, as a consequence, her raging young hormones are causing her to daydream endlessly about sex ... and boys ... and more sex. To pass the time of day, she's taken to encounters of phone sex with the local service hotline. However, a chance encounter with the latest apple of her eye's affections, young Artur (Matias Myren), leads her to a curious predicament: after he tries to put his ... well, his ... his "thing" on her thigh, she can't help but share the lewd details with her two best friends. But when Artur denies it, Alma finds herself the subject of scorn, harassment, and ridicule by the entire town.

What's a growing girl to do?

Writer/director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen has assembled a delightful coming-of-age tale that breaks the mold by doing the unthinkable: focusing on the girls. This is the stuff that American films has been doing for years - PORKIES and AMERICAN PIE immediately come to mind, or TV's short-lived FREAKS AND GEEKS - except that they generally tend to focus on the male of the species. (This isn't to say that the ladies get no focus; rather, it's only to say that the more farcical and sexual elements are far more often attributed to the boys than they are the girls.) In John Hughes' seminal SIXTEEN CANDLES, it's the young boys that secure a pair of women's underwear as the prize; in TURN ME ON, Alma would be happy going head-to-head in such a competition in her attempts to come to grips with her own womanhood, while her two friends would be left waiting in the wings.

And that's the beauty of the ensemble. Alma's burgeoning awareness is uniquely balanced by her mother's prudishness about the subject. She can't bring herself to have an adult conversation with her daughter about sex much less divulge the fact that she's seeing her boss at the turnip plant in a personal relationship. These two don't talk; rather, they act like most mothers do with their misbehaving teenage daughters: they clash! Additionally, Alma's two closest friends round out the teen experience: Saralou (Malin Bjorhovde) wants to have nothing to do with local boys, instead choosing to serve as a penpal to U.S. criminals on Death Row, while Ingrid (Beate Stofring) can barely tear herself away her lip gloss long enough to think about kissing a boy. Throw in a few curious local characters with some fine comic turns, and the film soars in much the same way the knuckleheads of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE braved their class culture journey.

It all builds to a believable climax where quirkiness truly wins the day, exactly the way you'd want it in a movie of this caliber. There's more heart and whimsy worked into this good-natured release than most films can muster in twice the running time, and that's saying something if you decide to take a chance with this modest little gem.

TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is produced by New Yorker Films. The story is based on a novel by Olaug Nilssen. DVD distribution is being handled (domestically) through New Yorker Video. As far as the production qualities, image and sound are good - there's some understanding graininess to the independent production but it in no way, shape, or form detracts (or distracts) from the story. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the film was awarded `Best Screenplay' at the 2011 Tribecca Film Festival as well as capturing `Independent Distribution Award for Best Debut Film' at the 2011 International Rome Film Festival. The disc includes deleted scenes, a brief interview with director Jacobsen, and the theatrical trailer ... a nice collection, but there's always room for more.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It's a easy, breezy way to spend 72 minutes - you read that right, 72 minutes - and I totally enjoyed TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! As a man, I can't say for certain whether or not it's an effective analysis of the young teenage girl's mind, but I'd venture to guess that there were far more hits than there were misses. Coming of age was probably never so sublime, but no doubt the hang-ups, misunderstandings, and hi-jinks will always be the source of fond memories, just like they play out here.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at New Yorker Video provided me with a DVD screener of TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
Primarily a coming-of-age comedy, "Turn Me On, Dammit!" is an engaging little film (only 76 minutes) from Norway. Seldom does a film capture the frustrated feelings of the teenage girls stuck in a stagnant community, without making the story preachy or depressing.

The story itself is simple. It is about a 15-year-old girl Alma (Helene Bergsholm), bored with life in a fictional Norwegian rural town Skoddeheimen. Alma is frequently daydreaming about sexual situations, especially that with her friend Artur (Matias Myren), with whom she has a crush on.

Because of one shocking incident that happened during a dance party (related to sex, of course), Alma is virtually ostracized in school. Only her best friend Sara (Malin Bjørhovde), frequently writing letters to death row inmates in Texas, seems to understand her plight.

Alma (and we) is finally given an opportunity to look at the whole things from a different perspective. Though some may find the conclusion too good to be true, I think it is very realistic. Though "Turn Me On, Dammit!" is about heterosexual love, its light-hearted tone (with the story and characters firmly rooted in reality) reminds me of a Swedish masterpiece "Show Me Love."

There is nothing exploitative about Alma's sexual fantasy. The delicate subject is handled with great sensitivity, and the film's understated message is a positive one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2013
Since so many fans say this is a "revolutionary comedy" and a "teenage sexual farce," I was expecting more laughs. But it really is more of a drama. Yes, our teenage heroine is obsessed with masturbation and sexual fantasies, perhaps more so than the average teen (but perhaps not, I'm not sure), but that is actually a secondary theme. The primary theme is Alma's complete and cruel social exclusion from everyone in town because she is a "pervert." Oh no, she's not a pervert because of her sexual obsessions.

The people in this small town think Alma is a pervert because she told the truth about a boy at school who briefly touched Alma with his genitals. Alma wasn't upset about it or anything; she just decided to tell people about it. Oddly enough, this was a boy she liked and fantasized about, so it makes you wonder why she decided to blab about the encounter. The boy denied that he had done it; everyone believed him and noboby believed Alma, and so from that point on Alma was designated a "pervert" who should be completely and utterly banished from any and all social interactions. And that, believe it or not, comprises the bulk of this story. It is NEVER made clear why everyone at school would regard Alma as a pervert worthy of total exclusion, even if she was lying. Teens lie all the time, just like the rest of us. :-)

The only person who knows about Alma's obsession with masturbation is her mother, because Alma makes a lot of noise when Mom is around. Solution: Mom wears earplugs. And Alma makes very expensive phone calls to a sex talk service. Solution: Mom tells Alma she has to work a parttime job to pay the phone bills. Look, I know this sounds like it might be funny, but in this movie it's all straight and serious. Maybe this is some kind of understated humor? If it is, I think it's too understated. Mom thinks there is something seriously wrong with Alma. The mother is loving and kind, but she's really quite clueless. Don't expect any meaningful heart-to-heart talks between mother and daughter. At no point do mother and daughter talk about sex, or anything else for that matter. As far as acting goes, the mother is good at giving Alma blank, uncomprehending stares. If Oscars were awarded for such stares, she'd win one.

There's more going on with Alma and the other teens at school. Using drugs and drinking alcohol seem to be a favorite pastime. Given the bucolic scenery and the fresh, clean faces of the teens this is a bit of a surprise. They are bored with small-town life, that much is clear. And that's fine, but these teens are obviously middle-class or higher and the movie doesn't tell us how difficult or easy it is for them to escape from small-town life if that is what they want to do. We don't learn anything about social mobility in Norway. As far as aspirations go, the only one we hear about is the desire to emigrate to Texas in order to protest capital punishment. And that's fine, too, except you can't make a living doing that. And yes, I know that Norwegian girls protesting capital punishment in Texas sounds funny, but the movie makes it all so serious and earnest that it isn't funny. Neither does Alma care at all about school and she doesn't hesitate to use profanity against her teachers. We never learn why the otherwise sweet Alma shows such blatant disrespect for her teachers, or why the teachers put up with it. Alma's mother seems to be totally unaware of Alma's problems at school. Or maybe she is and they simply don't talk about it. Is this how it is in Norway? If that's the case, it's no wonder The Beach Boys sang "I wish they all could be California girls." :-)

I've told you all of this and yet I've not given away any spoilers. If I told you how everything resolves in the end that might be a spoiler, so I won't do that. But there's nothing special or funny about the final resolution.

If this film makes you laugh, good for you! There are a couple of amusing scenes. The opening scene is the funniest: the expressions on the dog's face as he watches Alma are the best part of this movie. I'd like to know how they got the dog to do it. The dog would win an Oscar, too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
This teen comedy from Sweden is really good. The young cast are just right sullen, brash, frustrated and funny. This movie benefits from having a great script. The story is simple the kids just want to get out of their hick town and get laid. The adult characters are realistic the humour is droll. I loved this 'small' movie, so much better than some of the crass and unfunny hollywood teen flicks. Loved it!
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on June 18, 2015
One of the best movies that I've seen in a long time. The story itself isn't new but it's just a different view: a girl just trying to fit in, be popular. Being a teen and being confused about your sexuality and urges. Trying to get the attention of the certain boy...it's the same all over the world. Having a frustrating mother and that overly nosy neighbor.... Argh! I highly recommend this movie.
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on October 21, 2013
The subject matter here is tricky, and this could have turned out to be something tacky. However, the characters were charming and there was nothing salacious about this movie.
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on August 25, 2013
The movie meet all my expectations thank you!! It was good movie to look at. wish there are more like it but it is not. thank you.
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