The Swedish Soccer Movie “Forever” Is a Beautiful Coming-of-Age Story

I so enjoyed watching the Swedish film Forever last night that the Netflix algorithm rightfully served up to me. The narrative follows two teenage best friends – Kia and Mila – who have dreams of playing professional soccer. When a former Swedish pro comes to coach their team, their training becomes more serious, and their friendship becomes strained as they begin to go down different paths and discover their own ambitions. 

You learn quickly in the story that Mila’s father – a former soccer pro – passed away at a young age and it’s just her and her mother. Shaped by this adversity, Mila is a stubborn, determined, and fiery character who will readily play 1 vs. 11 game fully believing she can win. Kia, on the other hand, is a calm, steady figure that captains the team and supports her friend when her quick temper and rashness gets in the way of good decision-making.

Debuting 16-year old actors Flutra Cela (Mila) and Judith Sigfridsson (Kia) bring a beautiful realism to their characters, and the filming style reminded me of SKAM with how the camera sits with the characters, and really draws you in to their experience and emotions. Plus, the soccer skills are remarkable (they both actually play competitively for BK Häcken’s U17 and want to go pro), and the filming of action sequences really makes you feel like you’re on the pitch and in the flow of the game. (I couldn’t find an English version of the trailer, but maybe visually you can see if it appeals below.)

If you’ve played a team sport, you’ll really enjoy this movie, and it really hit on a lot of familiar experiences, including how it feels to put yourself out there and try something scary, navigating new challenges when you realize you’re good, but there are others just as good as you, and finding and being surprised by the grit and perseverance you have inside you to chase your dreams. I also particularly resonated with how Mila starts to realize her aspirations might be different from her friends, and watching as others chase more “normative” experiences that might not be your path.

Plus, it was cool to see a Swedish backdrop, with the movie being filmed in the coastal town of Uddevalla. If you enjoy the themes of coming-of-age, team sports, and friendship, I’m confident you’ll enjoy Forever.