Eli and Oskar

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vi4RNmVg2KE

If Interview with the Vampire did not exist, Let the Right One In would be it for me. It’s, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful vampire film ever made. Everything about it is flawless- the actors, the cinematography, the setting, the script (which was co-written with the author of the book on which the film is based), and the soundtrack- my God, the soundtrack. Listen to that theme- it’s enough to stand on its own. I read the book after I saw the film, and I have to say, I usually don’t feel this way, but I definitely prefer the film. Reason why- I think the book is gorgeous, ok, I really do, but some parts are really fucking hard to get through. Hakan, Eli’s guardian, is a pedophile in the book, and his scenes nearly made me throw up. It took me a few times to get through them. Eli picks him as a guardian in the book because he (yes, Eli is a boy in the book) knows he can manipulate Hakan’s despicable vice for his benefit. I’m relieved beyond words that they left this out of the film. Nothing against Lindqvist for writing any of it- he told the tale he wanted to tell, and I love him for it, but I’m glad they cut that from the film. He and Alfredson focused on the incredibly moving love story between Eli, the dark haired vampire, and Oskar, the boy who is whiter than a ghost. They. Are. *GORGEOUS.* I am taken in so much by them, I was spellbound beyond words when I first saw the film. Spellbound. These two are starved for affection and they find love with one another and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And isn’t that scene at the end where Eli slaughters the boys who bully Oskar every bullied kid’s dream? (those scenes were personal to the author- he based them on his own childhood.)

There is dark humor in the film as well, and it’s no wonder- Lindqvist was a comedian and street performer, so that came across pretty well in the story. What I love so much about it is that the humor only centers around the adults in the story- they are the ridiculous, petty players, and it provides a jarring contrast to the seriousness of the story between the two children. Stroke of genius. And that ending, that wonderful ending of Oskar finally escaping his horrible life to be with Eli is so full of hope, and I’m so grateful for that- not many vampire films end happily. This one does.

Let me also add that using a female to play the role of a 12 year old male vampire is fucking fantastic. When I first saw the film, I assumed Eli was meant to be female, but the film alludes to Eli’s real gender as a male, albeit a castrated one, and the book confirms it. I LOVE the use of a female here because it plays on that whole theme of androgeny frequently found in vampire lore, but also because it echoes the fact that Eli doesn’t really have a gender. After castration at age 12 and 200 years of losing any gender or human identity he had left, Eli is basically genderless. Eli is Eli.

Brilliant.

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~ by hln351 on February 12, 2015.

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