Vi hade i alla fall tur med vädret (1980)

Film review: Vi hade i alla fall tur med vädret [At least we were lucky with the weather] (1980), directed by Kjell Sundvall

vihadeiallafallturmedvadretSeeing as how it’s summer holidays, I thought I should finally get around to writing a few words about this one-hour TV movie, about a family on a camping holiday. The Backlund family live somewhere in the suburbs of Stockholm (probably) in Sweden, and armed with a caravan, they set out on their annual camping trip, because that’s the best way of discovering Sweden – by caravanning, or that’s the firm conviction of controlling father Gösta (Rolf Skoglund). His wife Gun (Claire Wikholm) quietly agrees, while the two children – Johan (Johan Öhman) and teenager Lotta (Lotta Thomsen) aren’t too impressed. The younger Johan wants to go swimming and Lotta would much rather have stayed at home. They go to pick upp granddad Rudolf (Gunnar ‘Knas’ Lindkvist) and then it’s off to the perfect holiday.

Or so they thought. Perhaps having five people in a caravan isn’t the bestest idea ever …

The thing about Vi hade i alla fall tur med vädret is that it relies heavily on recognition. If you’ve never been on a caravanning holiday, you will probably just see an exaggerated piece of something that perhaps isn’t all that funny. However, if you grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s and spent a couple of weeks every summer as a family of five crammed into a caravan – this film is hilarious. Sure, we never had granddad coming along (he wouldn’t fit in the car), but everything from packing everything, to the car journey and setting up camp at a campsite, to feeling too cramped both in the car and in the caravan … you recognise it, because you’ve been there.

The teenager who has to be dragged off kicking and screaming because she doesn’t want to come along? Had those. In fact, the last summer I went with my parents, I was one of them myself. The nagging kid who always wants to go swimming, have an ice cream or need the loo? (You can substitute swimming for nearly anything.) Don’t remember that personally, but ask my sisters and they’ll probably say that was me.

So mainly, if you’ve been there, you’ll find it funny, in a sort of cringeworthy way. It has some brilliant lines as well, especially when Gösta gets road rage.

What else is funny is that Gösta bears an uncanny resemblance to my dad (when he was younger), which makes it even funnier. My dad isn’t as controlling or unhinged as Gösta, fortunately, and he wouldn’t be shouting; more like muttering under his breath, if he got really upset.

Overall, I enjoy Vi hade i alla fall tur med vädret, even though it’s watched with a recognising cringe. The title translates as “at least we were lucky with the weather”, which when said with enough resignation implies that everything else about the trip was a bloody nightmare, but hey, at least it didn’t rain. The one thing that sort of makes it all worthwhile. (Your mileage may vary.)

It echoes my childhood’s holidays – when the school holiday seemed to go on forever and it was always sunny and warm – and for that alone, it’s 4 out of 5 overcrowded caravans.

P.S. It was followed up in 2008 with a less loved sequel. Now why did they have to go and do such a thing? Oh wait, it also happened to Göta Kanal. Totally unnecessary sequels to films which were brilliant at the time, so a futile attempt at re-creating former glories … is a very bad idea.

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