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Literature / I Miss You, I Miss You

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"Min allrakäraste syster." note 

Cilla and Tina are identical twins. They are fourteen years old and have typical teenage problems. Cilla is down to earth, slightly tomboyish and an outcast in their class. Tina is popular, boy-crazy and somewhat shallow. One morning when they are late for the bus to school and race across the street to catch it Cilla is hit by a car and dies. The remainder of the story follows Tina in the first year after her sister's death as she struggles to live her life without her twin, deals with her sorrow and attempts to live a normal teenage life.

The book is co-written by Peter Pohl and Kinna Gieth. Pohl is a popular Swedish writer of youth fiction and his book "Alltid den där Anette" deals with the topic of a character losing their twin. Kinna Gieth and her identical twin sister Jenny read the book together and talked about how they wouldn't be able to go on if the other died. Two weeks later Jenny was killed in a car accident. Gieth contacted Pohl and asked him to help her tell her story and the resulting book is a mixture of fact and fiction, based on the diaries of the Gieth twins, interviews with Kinna and her family and correspondance between Gieth and Pohl.

Nineteen years after the book was published a movie was released, the title shortened to "I Miss You". Noteable changes in the movie include leaving out the twins' stepbrother Jonny, changing the name of a character from Bahir to Ailu and making the twins' father Italian rather than French.

The book and film provide examples of:

  • Adapted Out:
    • Jonny, the twins' step-brother.
    • Anna-Karin and Maja, the girls who bully Cilla at school.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Most of what the twins angst over prior to Cilla's death.
  • Alpha Bitch: Anna-Karin and Maja.
  • Always Identical Twins: Although the movie actually makes the twins easy to tell apart, with Tina often wearing makeup (at least before her sister's death) and Cilla not, and with the twins having different hair colour.
  • Based on a True Story: Only Pohl and Gieth know which parts are fact and which parts are fiction.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted in Tina's nightmare, when she sees Cilla post-accident, covered in blood and shards of glass.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tina still has the rest of her life to handle without Cilla, missing her every day of her life, but the intense initial grief has passed, and it looks like she'll be starting a relationship with a really sweet guy, unlike the previous guys she's dated.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Tina.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth
  • Catapult Nightmare: Tina in the movie.
  • Character Death: Cilla's death drives the majority of the plot.
  • Composite Character: In the movie Jonny's friend Martin and Bahir's musical partner Ola are combined into one and it works surprisingly well.
  • Death of a Child: A child being run over and killed on the way to school.
  • Demoted to Extra: Cilla's best friend Sandra and Tina's best friend Lotta (renamed Frida in the film), who play a much larger and more significant role in the book than in the movie. Still they are more lucky than the twins' stepbrother Jonny who isn't in the movie at all.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Poor Fredde.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Arguably Bahir/Ailu. He meets Cilla when she asks him to write music for her play, instead he writes a song for her ("Cilla Suite" in the book, "Cilla Turns" in the film) despite not knowing her and being at least a couple of years her senior (in the movie he is shown driving, meaning he must be at least 18 while Cilla is about to turn 15). After her death he writes her another song ("Memorial Cilla" in the book, "Jag Saknar Dig" in the film) which he performs at the funeral. After the first song becomes a hit he is obsessed with perfecting it and asks Tina to help him out by playing the violin on the track. The way his musical partner Ola comments on it in the book it seems like he's working on the song as part of his grief process. All this for a girl he barely knew.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Not embarassing per se but the twins were born in France and given French names. After the move to Sweden their new stepbrother decides you can't go around normal people with names like Martinelle and Cilibelle and nicknames them Tina and Cilla.
  • Emotional Torque
  • First Love: Cilla thinks Tina needs to experience this. She does eventually but he turns out to be less of a Prince Charming than she thought.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Albert on occasion.
  • Good Is Not Nice: While the twins are both genuinely good people, and Cilla is presented as the nicer and more caring one, neither girl is ever portrayed as a saint. For instance, in the movie Fredde musters up the courage to ask Cilla out, but in that moment Ailu walks in to the room and she carelessly brushes Fredde off, saying "Sorry Fredde, but you can forget about that." She doesn't notice how crushed he is by her words.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't get to see much of Cilla's body after the accident.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: In the book everyone visits Cilla's grave on the anniversary of her death.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners. Ola and Bahir in the book. Martin and Ailu are good friends in the movie, but not quite on the same level.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: When the school counselor asks Tina to tell one thing she'll never forgive Cilla, she breaks down sobbing and says she'll never forgive Cilla for dying and leaving her behind.
  • In Love with Love: Tina while her sister is still alive.
  • Laughing Mad: Shortly after Cilla died, Tina goes on a walk with her friend Frida. When passing the theater, Tina remembers how Cilla predicted that everyone will cry at her theater performance. Tina begins to laugh hysterically at this memory until Frida slaps her.
  • Look Both Ways: Tina and Cilla run across the street without looking either way and Cilla gets hit. Tina later tells Martin, who was driving the car, that the accident was hers and Cilla's fault for not looking both ways before crossing the street.
  • Loser Gets the Girl: The ending implies that Tina starts a relationship with Fredde.
  • Maybe Ever After: Tina and Fredde.
  • Mirror Monologue: Tina frequently carries out conversations with her mirror image, imagining that she's really talking to Cilla.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The film is set in Piteå, a city known to have a very distinct accent, but many of the characters show no trace of it. Cilla and Tina were played by twins from the same region as Piteå, but their accent is not the same, although you probably wouldn't realize if you're not from the north of Sweden.
  • Oh, and X Dies: Both the book and the movie open with Tina revealing that Cilla is going to die.
  • The Oner: Featured in a pivotal scene in the movie, where Georg, the school counselor, helps Tina to a breakthrough in her grieving process. The shot begins with Tina and Georg sitting down on opposite sides of a bench encircling a tree, with only Tina clearly visible as Georg is on the other side of the tree facing away from her. He asks her to first close her eyes and think of a pleasant memory of Cilla, and then has Tina repeating what he says and continuing where he stops. When says "The only thing I can't forgive her for is...", Tina repeats and then hesitates before breaking down into hysterical sobs, saying that the only thing she can't forgive her twin sister for is dying and leaving Tina behind to take care of everyone and everything, and missing Cilla more than she can stand. During her sobs she hears Cilla's voice in her head, saying that she wants to trade places with Tina and be alive, prompting Tina to sobbingly tell her sister that she, too, wants to live, begging her sister to leave her be. She then voices her own guilt over having not seen the car that hit Cilla, and having ran out into the street without looking both ways. The entire take runs for just under four minutes, and the actress who plays Tina (Erica Midfjäll) does a very good job of going from being tense and on edge to relaxing when talking about her happy memory with Cilla, to eventually shaking with sobs, carrying the entire scene mostly on her own as Georg is barely seen and stops talking early in the shot.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In the book, the twins real names are "Cilibelle" and "Martinelle", but they are called Cilla and Tina by everyone.
    • The movie is more ambiguous. Tina is only ever called by that name, with no reveal as to whether it's a nickname or a given name. During the premiere of Cilla's play her full name is said to be Cecilia, but that happened in the book as well, even though her actual name was Cilibelle. Whether her actual name in the film is Cecilia, or if it is Cilibelle, is not made clear.
  • Opening Narration
  • Overcome Their Differences: Tina makes peace with Anna-Karin and Maja, the girls who had bullied Cilla, when she realizes how hard her death has been on them too.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Tina and Cilla to some degree.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Tina, taking her anguish over Cilla's death and her unresolved issues with her twin out on her mirror image. Complete with kicking the mirror in the movie.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie features some very beautiful shots of Piteå.
  • Shout-Out: Several to "Allrakäraste Syster" ("Most Beloved Sister"), a story by Astrid Lindgren about a girl who feels unloved by her family and imagines having an identical twin sister who loves her the most. Tina and Cilla refer to each other as "most beloved sister" and mention having loved the story growing up. The book opens with a passage from the story where the main character comes to terms with her twin not existing.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Tina is fifteen minutes older than Cilla.
  • Survivor Guilt: Tina was running just one step ahead of her sister when Cilla got hit.
  • There Are No Therapists: Subverted. Tina eventually agrees to see a counselor.
  • The Un-Favourite: Tina sometimes feels like her parents and brother prefer Cilla.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: People sometimes call Tina by her sister's name after the accident. Tina herself sometimes calls her friends Cilla.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Tina has a nightmare where Cilla tells her this.

Alternative Title(s): I Miss You I Miss You