‘A Part Of You’ Review: Swedish Melodrama With Huge Cast Doesn’t Pack A Punch


The thought of losing a sibling is unfathomable to those of us who are fortunate to have them. Perhaps it’s my closeness with my sister that lends to my appreciation of media that represent sibling bonds impeccably. They can be at each other’s throats all the time, or they can be as close as we are, or an awkward, long-lost bunch who have to find their way to loving each other again—it’s a bond that is somehow palpable through it all. The title A Part of You immediately piqued my interest as I learned that it was a story about sisters. I went into the film completely blind, and it definitely didn’t go as I expected. The film explores the life of 17-year-old Agnes after her sister unexpectedly dies, leaving her to navigate life after tragedy all by herself. Immediately, the idea of this film should have me on the verge of tears, if not weeping already. However, I didn’t shed a single tear throughout this film. It simply didn’t work for me. Now, maybe this is a screenplay that doesn’t work for me personally, and I think sentimentality is massively subjective, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. 

Immediately, the concept of this movie brought to mind the 2009 movie My Sister’s Keeper. I know they don’t really relate at all; Julia in A Part of You doesn’t have cancer; it’s a rather tragic death with no warning; however, there’s a common thread here, and that’s jealousy. Now, this is sheer vitriol, and maybe you’d think I’m being hypocritical, but this is the one theme that I cannot tolerate for some reason. This is not to say that jealousy between siblings is unheard of. In fact, it’s rather widespread, but it’s just the hyperbolic nature of its representation on the screen that really bothers me, you know? In My Sister’s Keeper, it’s not necessarily jealousy; it’s more about how Anna is treated in second grade because her mother is so focused on Kate. On the other hand, in A Part of You, Agnes is jealous of her extroverted elder sister Julia, who is the life of the party. I suppose because Agnes’ journey of grief begins with her dealing with her envy, it really put me off for the rest of the film. This is why, despite the young actors doing an impeccable job of being melancholic, I just couldn’t feel any of their emotions. 

The film doesn’t simply cover the concepts of grief and tragedy. It’s also about personal potential and hidden dilemmas. I think depression and grief go hand in hand, and one thrives on the other. This comes through well in the film. What really gives me the ick is how teenage drama-y the film is. Yes, everyone deals with death and tragedy differently, but it’s just the whole “teenager in love completely transforms after being affected by misery” bit that just didn’t work for me. The first half of the film, after Julia’s death, is rather tedious and, though deliberate, feels a bit slow. I will admit, though, that the casting of this film is bang on because the sisters practically look like twins, which is a necessity for this film. 

To my shock, I learned after watching the film that Julia is played by singer-songwriter Zara Larsson (call me old or ignorant, whatever you like). Now, it makes sense why everyone just sounds fantastic while they karaoke. Zara’s role is limited, but she does a great job with what she’s got. Young Royals‘ Edvin Ryding is also fantastic, as always, and his new look is quite dashing. But of course, the star of the show is Felicia Truedsson, who also happens to be in Young Royals for a minor role. Her dream in A Part of You is to be an actress, and it comes through quite adorably. She’s perfect as an unhinged teenager who is struggling with identity, sadness, and life in general. Other minor characters are also played with detail, and the cast definitely makes this film watchable. 

What I love about Swedish media is how raw everything is. This film, too, comes across as very raw. Teenagers look like teenagers; even when they have makeup on, it’s used as an expression rather than to hide away what’s considered a flaw. It’s always nice to see relatable faces and bodies on screen. However, I have to speak about the costumes in this film, which are fantastic. All the characters have their own style and look like they’ve dressed themselves as Gen Z kids. It almost feels like a college production, thanks to how “real” everyone looks. If you’ve got a thing for amusing outfits, at least there’s that to look forward to. Visually, the movie is also very Scandinavian, and the score is pretty decent. Specifically, the use of “Wake Me Up” by Avicii is a nice touch that connects the beginning and the end. 

The thing is, teen angst will forever haunt us as a genre that keeps serving up mediocre content. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just like your 30-year-old neighbor who spends half her time watching teen dramas on Netflix while struggling to pull her life together, but I’m not going to suggest you waste time on something that’s simply “mid.” Given that this movie stars some popular Swedish kids, there’s a chance it’s going to garner some attention at least, so I’m sure it might be on your radar. If you want to watch the film for Edvin or Zara, I hate to disappoint you, but they’ve got very minor roles. I’m not going to completely sideline the film because, as I said earlier, grief is subjective, so this may be something that ticks off the right boxes for you. I suppose I’d give A Part of You 2.5 out of 5 stars, specifically for the performances and the outfits that really stuck with me. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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