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Film / All Things Fair

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All Things Fair is a 1995 film from Sweden directed by Bo Widerberg.

Sweden, 1943. The Swedes are clinging to a precarious neutrality in World War II, surrounded on all sides by Germany and countries occupied by/allied to Germany. Stig is a teenaged boy in high school in Malmo. He and all the other boys in his class (classes are segregated by gender) are little teenaged horndogs, balls of hormones that pass the days measuring the depth of their pubic hair (with rulers!) and wondering how many times a man moves his penis inside a woman during sex. (One boy's estimate of 800 times is slightly high.)

Into this cloud of testosterone comes Viola, an attractive 37-year-old schoolteacher. Viola takes a special interest in Stig, who, besides being generally decent and honorable, is a handsome young man, not as awkward as his gawky classmates. Soon Viola takes too much of an interest in Stig. After one impulsive kiss from Stig to Viola in a stairwell, they plunge almost immediately into a torrid affair, with Viola instructing Stig in the ways of sex while enjoying his teenaged virility. The situation becomes more complicated when Stig meets Viola's husband, a perpetually drunken lingerie salesman named Frank. Frank and Stig form an unusual friendship, which leads to major changes in Stig's affair with Frank's wife.



  • The Alcoholic: Frank, who is pretty much always drinking, and has even rigged up the cuckoo clock on the wall to shoot out a spray of gin when it rings the hour.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Well, Stig gets to have sex with a teacher who's more than twice his age. Then there's Lisbet the neighbor girl, the same age as Stig, who pulls him into the apartment, takes off all her clothes, and says "Do anything you want with me."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Verges on Downer Ending—Stig's brother is dead, he's lost his regular sex with Viola, he's lost his considerably more appropriate girlfriend Lisbet after she catches him with Viola, and to top everything off he has to repeat his third year of high school after Viola screwed him over. But he seems to have grown as a person, and at the end of the film he takes a measure of revenge on Viola by stealing the nice dictionary set that was how they first bonded.
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  • Comforting Comforter: Stig's budding friendship with Frank is demonstrated when he puts a blanket over Frank, who has passed out drunk at the kitchen table.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Stig grows from youth to manhood as a result of his illicit affair with a teacher, but not without some hard lessons.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: "All things fair in love and war." Only in English, though. The Swedish title is "Lust och fägring stor", which translates to "Great Lust and Beauty".
  • Cuckold: Frank can hardly be bothered to blink when he eventually discovers that a 15-year-old boy is having sex with his wife. Eventually, Frank and Stig start hanging out.
  • Double Standard: The double standard as applied to older partners having affairs with teens. A relationship between a 37-year-old male teacher and his 15-year-old girl student would of course immediately be recognized as monstrous and wrong. Viola's affair with Stig, on the other hand, comes off as exciting and even tender. Ultimately, however, the Double Standard is averted when Viola uses her power to take revenge on Stig after their affair ends.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Not that Frank needs much of an excuse to drink. But a half-hearted stab at going on the wagon ends when he reads a story about the popularity of nylons in America and realizes the dire threat nylons pose to his lingerie business.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Stig is established as a cut above the other little creeps in his class when he sticks up for a Jewish kid who is being bullied.
  • Evil Teacher: A viewer may think that Viola was evil from the beginning, for preying on a teenaged boy. She's certainly evil at the end, when she destroys his academic record and flunks him after he breaks up with her.
  • Hot Teacher: Viola is very good looking. Stig is easy prey for her.
  • Lady Drunk: By the end of the movie Viola is this, crying and staggering around her apartment as she swigs from a wine bottle. Things get ugly when she smashes the bottle and threatens Stig with it.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Viola has some serious issues.
  • Running Gag: Stig's father has a loud and distracting snore. Stig's mother snaps him out of his snoring by squeezing a child's squeak toy and giving him a shove.
  • SextraCredit: Inverted when Viola flunks Stig after he breaks up with her.
  • She's Got Legs: Stig can't help but stare at Viola's shapely calves. She picks up on this.
  • Teacher's Pet: Ironically not Stig but Albert, who was class monitor last year, volunteers to do it again this year, and takes his duties very seriously.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Stig's a horny teen; Viola is obviously starved for affection as she's trapped in a marriage with a husband who's utterly indifferent to her. It ends very badly.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Viola is cheating on her husband.


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