Are We Lost Forever is an intriguing, loungy film about a breakup and the time it takes for each person in a couple to move on. There are moments of brilliance that pierce an otherwise conventional feeling queer indie movie, and an overarching narrative that addresses those core questions that come when two people separate: What went wrong? How much of it was my fault? Will we get back together?
Written and directed by David Färdmar, Are We Lost Forever begins with Adrian (Björn Elgerd) and Hampus (Jonathan Andersson) in bed. They’ve just broken up, ending their engagement after a few years together. Hampus is resigned and cautious, while Adrian is shocked and devastated. This becomes the emotional thread from which they both move forward, or don’t.
Elgerd’s Adrian largely oscillates between a deer-in-headlights feeling of being overwhelmed, as though he can’t comprehend what has happened to him, and a crushing sadness that sees him crumble. This manifests occasionally as anger at Hampus, who has taken the breakup with more ease, as Adrian attempts to stoke a reaction that extends their time in one another’s presence. He clings longer to the hope of reconciliation even if he’s not really sure that’s what he wants.
Meanwhile, Andersson’s Hampus swerves from happy and aloof to apologetic for much of the movie. As the instigator of the breakup, Hampus has certainly had more time to process what it would mean to no longer be with his partner, which is why much of Are We Lost Forever follows Adrian. There is a sweetness to Hampus, who smoothes over the past in an effort to move on. Which is not to say he doesn’t have issues with Adrian or the problems that were present in their relationship, rather he is the kind of person who needs to make choices. He has chosen to accept the good and the bad of his relationship with Adrian and chooses to move forward, including finding new romances. Hampus is eager for Adrian to move on, in a polite way, which is perhaps unrealistic given how much further in his healing journey Hampus is compared to Adrian.
Are We Lost Forever sees Adrian and Hampus emerge from their relationship, Hampus moving out and both of them finding new people to date. As with many couples who’ve been together for some time, they don’t simply stop seeing each other after Hampus moves out. They meet to exchange forgotten belongings, though this mostly reminds Adrian how much of a distance is growing between them, they backslide into hooking up – shown in some fairly intense and mildly graphic sex scenes, and end up having conversations about what was previously unsaid that led to them no longer working as a couple. It is brutal and awkward, as both of them reveal tensions that had otherwise gone unsaid. For Adrian in particular, these are personality traits that then become apparent in his new relationship, one that is also with someone who bends a little to his will but will ultimately be headstrong enough to leave him rather than change for him.
One of the lighter moments in the movie, when Adrian dances to a song in front of a mirror, is rousingly fun. Perhaps due to the contrast with the other stilted, awkward scenes, this moment of freedom gives us a taste of the best of who he can be. Sadly, this is also a reminder that we don’t get to see Adrian and Hampus at their best as a couple, which would go some way to making the emotional stakes more impactful. In fact, we rarely see genuine joy from Adrian and Hampus, and certainly not at the same time.
Are We Lost Forever sets out to explore the time between breaking up and having moved on, knowing full well that one decision in an instant doesn’t cause this change. The film has a placid mood that means it drifts along, perhaps intentionally, but is nonetheless engaging and enjoyable.
Are We Lost Forever is available on DVD and Blu-ray from 18 January 2021