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Called a 'sincere nostalgia trip' by Village Voice, 'Sonja' is the directorial debut from former actress Kirsi Marie Liimatainen, who was inspired by her own youth in Tampere, Finland to make the film. It won a Grand Jury Special Mention at the 2007 Miami International Film Festival. The storyline follows Sonja, a pretty, 16- year-old blonde, as she experiences unfamiliar feelings for her gal pal Julia. Capturing those indelible moments in young adulthood when one realizes that "I love you" means different things to different people, the film lays bare all the uncertainty, fear, and beauty of coming of age. Sonja spends her summer in a boring, suburban town, avoiding her ex-boyfriend Anton who wants to get back together, and her mother, who pries into everything going on in her young life. Sonja's only joy comes from Julia, a radiant, brunette beauty who tools around town on a scooter and confides in Sonja about going to dances and having sex with boys. Julia feels like she and Sonja will be best friends forever. But looking into Julia's eyes, then caressing her back as they share a bed one night, Sonja begins to realize there's something more going on here.
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While this movie is about self-discovery, it is also about the lonliness of such a journey. And it is lonely and frustrating to feel a million things that can't be spoken. To have your mother misunderstand you, to not feel the way you're suppose to feel about boys -- the way all the other girls are feeling about boys, and to have this friend... this friend who touches you on so many unique ways down inside your soul, but who doesn't understand the depth of it. And on the one hand you want them to know and understand, but on the other hand you question... if they did, would I still have them? And it can tear you apart to hold this question inside you.
While there are flaws in the peice (the ending, the pacing, disjointed transitions), there's also a lot of heart in it. In the final scene between Sonja and Julia in the film I could feel Sonja's heart falling into her hands as she finally openned up to Julia. In fact, all through the movie I felt Sonja. The actress that played her was incredible and the story's core is beautiful. Like I said, you'll feel cheated by the ending at first. But then go back to the beginning and listen again to Sonja's poem for Julia and you understand the story so much better.