Film / Lilya 4-ever

Lilja 4-ever is a 2002 Swedish-Danish drama film directed by Lukas Moodysson.

Lilya (Oksana Akinshina) is a 16-year-old girl living in the slums of the former Soviet Union. As the film opens, she is enjoying life as best she can, but is really looking forward to moving to America with her mother.

But then her mother leaves poor Lilya to fend for herself. And her only other relative is abusive towards her, saying the only thing she can do is prostitute herself. This Lilya does, and she also starts squatting in a flat with a local boy named Volodya.

A momentary bright spot does appear: she gets a boyfriend named Andrei, who offers her a passport to Sweden so she can be with him. But all is not as it seems: he's really a child trafficker, and she's just been sentenced to a lifetime of prostitution.

And it can only go downhill from there...

This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Volodya's dad.
  • Break the Cutie
  • Break the Haughty: Lilya is by no means humble during the beginning of the film.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The film ends with Lilja and Voldoya playing basketball happily together in the afterlife
  • Cassandra Truth: Volodya. Granted, his warnings about Andrei probably were based on jealousy, but in the end, he was right.
  • Crapsack World: Russia does not come off well in this movie at all.
  • Despair Event Horizon
  • Disappeared Dad: Lilya's father abandoned her mother as soon as she told her she was pregnant.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lilya and Volodya, whether or not it worked for the former is left ambiguous.
  • Eagleland: Type 1, Lilya is enamored with the idea of moving from in the Soviet Union to America.
  • Foreign Language Title: Lilja 4-ever.
  • Foregone Conclusion
  • From Bad to Worse: The movie!
  • Guardian Angel: Volodya becomes Lilya's guardian angel after his suicide.
  • Inspired By: The film was based on the real-life story of 16-year-old trafficking victim Danguole Rasalaite, whose story ended the same way as Lilya's. It was dedicated to the millions of other victims of trafficking across the world.
  • Karma Houdini: Lilya's negelectful mother, Lilya's aunt, Volodya's abusive father, The men who gang raped Lilya, Lilya's pimp, and Andrei pretty much all get away with their horrible actions and never get punished.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: The "4" in the movie title.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Lilya tries to say goodbye to Volodya, but he is hurt that she is leaving and runs away before she can.
  • The New Russia: The setting for the first part of the film. It ain't pretty.
  • Parental Abandonment: Lilya's father only courted her mother to sleep with her, and then proceeded to move to Moscow and sever all ties he had with her mother once she told him he was pregnant. Lilya's mother abandons her when she moves to America with her new boyfriend, and her Aunt (who was told to watch over Lilya after her mother left), while not necessarily moving away or anything, does essentially leave her to her own devices, telling her to whore herself out if she needs money to keep the electricity in her flat.
  • Parental Substitute: Lilya (temporarily) becomes this for Volodya. Lilya's aunt is supposed to be this for her, but she gives up rather quickly.
  • Scenery Gorn: The abandoned Soviet building where Lilya and Volodya hide to play is quite creepy. It used to be an office where most of the town had worked but since the perestroika it has been abandoned and forgotten like pretty much of the Soviet buildings spread around Eastern Europe.