From what I’d seen of the trailer, I thought the film One-Two-Three-Go! would dare to be a little bit different than the other similar ones. We’ve had quite a few of these ‘angsty teenage cancer’ type films over the years, and while that in itself is not an issue, they tend to be more than a little cliche.
The film is about Jeppe and Cecile, two teenagers who meet in Svendborg High School and fall in love. It’s pretty obvious that both of them are into sports from the get go – and that’s really the only defining characteristics they are given. This says a lot about the story structure, which fails at pulling these characteristics into the story, rather they show us scenes of both of them either jogging listlessly or unenthusiastically playing basketball. The rest of the plot is sadly pretty cliche, following the plot points of international films like A Walk to Remember, Keith and Restless.
Jeppe is insecure about his basketball skills but wants to get chosen to play for the American NBA and get a scholarship. Yet, he doesn’t have the strength and willpower to reach those goals (well, yet anyway). Along comes Cecile, who has recently moved away from Odense and feels alone, but does not want to make any new friends in Svendborg. The reason for this is rather obvious, but as of yet cancer is not mentioned until things between Jeppe and Cecile get more serious.
But as with other recent films in this genre, it turns cancer into something to be used as martyrdom, and it is romanticised. The desire-ridden characters spend 99% of the film in deep depression, only to finally reach some sort of epiphany in the last 5 minutes of the film. They let the desires overtake their whole identity, making them stay away from other people, thinking that they shouldn’t ‘burden’ other people with their problems but ultimately do. And, of course, she gets the DARING tattoo, tries some drugs and gets married while she’s at it because she is, after all, dying and these are the things she desperately wants to accomplice before the fact.
If that part sounds a little passive aggressive to your ears, you’re not wrong. These ‘end goals’ have been reused over and over in every lifetime drama, and most notably in A Walk to Remember. With the risk of sounding a bit preachy, what about more realistic goals that do not have to do anything with supporting the patriarchy? Like studying to get a college degree, for instance, get involved with cancer research and donate your brain to science, plead with NASA to become the first cancer patient in space. Break a world record in an absolutely ridiculous way like making a huge sculpture out of chewing gum. That would at least be more interesting to watch. But no, marriage and a slightly tacky tattoo is still the ultimate goal.
This is a film for people who have never seen any earlier films like it, and based on that point of view it’s an okay experience. It’s not awful, but not the best in its genre either.