The Swedish film Kiss Me demonstrates what happens when two women reclaim what society prompts us to believe we must hide and lock away.
Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez) and soon-to-be step-sister Frida (Liv Mjones) meet on awkward terms: not due to their parents’ impending marriage, but from the instantaneous tension between them. Mia’s father plans a family vacation to an island retreat to better acquaint the girls and his new wife. The seclusion provides a pseudo-utopia in which Frida and Mia encounter intimate moments. At the same time, Mia avoids real-world judgment of her budding sexuality, while Frida clings to the time she has with the woman of her dreams, who just seems to be living in one.
Every day following proves to be a struggle. Still, the two find themselves rejecting the gripping memories they share. With each simple look exchanged throughout the film, the women display their impeccable on-screen chemistry. There are words lips may keep silent, but that a heart will scream out. Their eyes plead, “kiss me.” Mia notices herself drifting away from fiancé Tim (Joakim Natterqvist). Faced with guilt, she must choose to end her seven-year relationship and quickly approaching wedding, or to hide who she is forever. Frida, then, realizes that her past may not be over as she challenges her own haunting memories: break the heart of her girlfriend, Elin, or live a lie? Overwhelmed by visceral attraction, her decision is unclear.
Kiss Me is heart-wrenching, but the twist is alluring. The film’s exceptional performances, and its subtitled dialogue, express not how to give up and live a life unlived, but how to fight for it.