James Reviews Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s Turn Me On, Dammit! [PIFF 2012 Review]

Sometimes I like to play coy, hinting at what I think about a film within this first paragraph. A ‘did he or didn’t he life it’ type of feel. In this case with the film Turn Me On, Dammit!, I can’t help but stand on a pedestal and scream to the heavens that I truly adored this film. What’s funnier is that it’s a coming of age story, which tends to be something I don’t gravitate toward, which is a shame because one should never be that closed minded. But I’m glad going into this film, all I had seen was the title and heard a brief description of the film, which was, “It centers around a 15 year old girl who loves to masturbate.” Well, that is an essential part to the film but not at all what it’s about.

Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is the aforementioned 15 year old girl who, at her age, is going through what most tend to think of when thinking of boys of that age range. In this case, she can’t help but think of sex all the time, which is why she has a sex line she calls where the guy knows her by name and she can pleasure herself when her mom (Henriette Steenstrup) is at work. She also has a crush on the cute boy who lives near her named Artur (Matias Myren), who seems to like her too. At a party, when she goes out for some air and a beer, Artur meets up with her and in what appears to be a sweet moment, turns out to be his poking of Alma with his penis. She tells her friends Saralou (Malin Bjørhovde) and Ingrid (Beate Støfring) about what just happened and this spirals out of control in a horrible way for Alma.

Artur denies this ever happening and Ingrid takes this opportunity to make a mockery of Alma and sadly becomes the laughing stock of the high school. Her new nickname is ‘Dick-Alma’ and Ingrid tries to make the moves on Artur. While this is all happening, Alma is still trying to understand herself, her sexuality and her mom’s unease about the situation, all while trying to get Artur to admit that he did indeed poke her with his penis. Saralou, sister of Ingrid, is still friends with Alma, but only at the bus stop and around town, but not at the school but she has her own issues and a stoner kid who is trying to get with her, while she is planning on leaving this town and moving to Texas to fight the death penalty.

In a 76 minute movie, there is tons of story but it never once drags. It balances the fine line between funny and charming, cute and crude and does it with such ease that it amazed me while I was watching it with my significant other. Not sure why, but I knew of a few people who were questioning even seeing this film due to the fact that it was centered around a 15 year old girl who liked to masturbate. In one scene she even smells her hand afterward, which I found out is something some curious girls do. Some curious guys do as well, but that’s the idea I get from Turn Me On, Dammit!: teens are kind of crazy. To be more specific, when hormones are raging in teens, you are a confused, irrational, angry, sad, horny mess and you don’t know what to do with all of this pent up insanity, which Jacobsen directs with such finesse.

One wonders if this film gets a following here in the States if a production company will want to remake it. It’s kind of worrisome, mainly because this would be seriously toned down big time if made here, because the American movie going public has something against sex. Especially enjoyable sex when it comes to a woman. In this case, it’s a girl that is underage and who is confident with herself and what makes her feel good. When you open the film with Alma laying on the floor, hands under her panties and pleasuring herself while on a sex line, it feels like they’d change it to a guy having sex with a warm pie. I will take this film and its subject matter over American Pie, Project X and various other raunchy teen comedies of today because they tend to be a bit angry and self centered. Alma is a girl we’ve all known or know today, depending on your age. Or she might have been you and this film will bring back those awkward moments you hadn’t thought about for years. It’s an amazing film that really shows me that there are up and coming filmmakers we should all be looking out for. Jannicke Systad Jacobsen is one such filmmaker. Seek this out the moment you hear it’s being released.

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