THE UNITED STATES might—might—have a lock on cinematic depictions of male teen hormones. But when it comes to the female rendition of the task, we—along with everyone else—just got smoked by Turn Me On, Dammit!, a quirky 2011 Norwegian film by first-time feature director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. Jacobsen's frank take on her subject material situates her at a taboo-breaking remove, even in a big place like Hollywood: One need only glance at the vast archives celebrating the male sexual coming-of-age to see the discrepancy.
In stylistic strokes familiar to its gritty-chic American indie counterparts, Dammit follows Alma (Helene Bergsholm) over the course of a particularly trying couple of months during the dog days leading up to her 16th birthday. Possessed by hormones, she gets busted for racking up phone-sex charges (we first meet her, mid-purchase, on the kitchen floor), rides rolls of coins when the register gets slow at work, and slips into erotic daydreams about virtually everyone she encounters in her tiny Norwegian village. Her mom (single, doomed to eternal toil at the local turnip factory) sleeps with earplugs.
Life with her small posse of friends, comprised of sisters Sara (Malin Bjørhovde) and Ingrid (Beate Støfring), is upset at a party, when Alma is approached by her crush, Artur (Matias Myren). In a weird, creepy fumble at an advance, he wordlessly takes out his erection and briefly pokes her thigh while they're alone outside. Her enthusiasm for—and his denial of—the event results in a jealous ostracization of Alma, who suffers the nickname "Dick-Alma" and takes up smoking hash alone, branded a pervert and a liar.
Dammit doesn't need to say much about horny teenage girls other than, unapologetically, that they exist, and can do so without conforming to the dead stock of bad girl associations—Alma's a sweet, ballsy, normal girl who shoulder taps for beer and shares a ritual with her friends in which they religiously flip off the road sign for their hometown every time they pass it. Vicarious glimpses of Oslo reveal a near future for her in which she can fashion her history and expand her education; she'll be just fine.
While the ending is a bit too pattingly winking and cute, Dammit tells its short, forthright tale briskly and with a curtsy before moving off stage right. Stark, blunt, and efficient, it draws a new mark in the ledger.