Is Netflix’s JJ+E Based on a True Story?

Alexis Almström brings an enthralling and endearing tale of blooming love before the global audience in the Swedish-original teen romance drama ‘JJ+E’ (originally titled: ‘Vinterviken’). As it often happens in romance movies, the tale follows two protagonists, John John and Elisabeth, who live in the same city but inhabit different spaces, culturally and economically. However, they become close due to their shared passion for drama.

However, it would seemingly take more than that to bring them together, as their priorities and personalities are quite different from each other. Do they have what it takes to stay strong through thick and thin? Mustapha Aarab and Elsa Öhrn deliver effortlessly graceful performances in the leading roles in this timeless coming-of-age tale. The sweet little film lingers on for a while even after the end credits roll, but you may be wondering if the story is based on solid grounds. In that case, let us probe into the realism aspect of the movie.

Is JJ+E a True Story?

No, ‘JJ+E’ is not based on a true story. However, the endearing romance of the story is tethered to quite realistic grounds. Therefore, the tale also doubles as a study of economic disparities and cultural diversities inherent within a Nordic, especially Swedish demography. The movie was directed by Alexis Almström based on a screenplay by Dunja Vujovic. The writer based the screenplay on the acclaimed young-adult novel of the same name by Mats Wahl. ‘Vinterviken’ (which translates to English as ‘the Winter Bay’) is one of the most notable works by the author.

The story of the novel, like the film, chronicles the intertwined lives of John John and Elisabeth, who inhabit two sides of the Mälaren lake in the titular Vinterviken bay area. Before this movie, there has been a 1996 adaptation of the same name by Harald Hamrell. But many fans of the book felt that the movie could not live up to its potentials. John John comes from a ghettoed neighborhood in the poorer and industrial Gröndal suburbs.

On the other hand, Elisabeth’s father Frank owns a villa on the affluent north side of the bay. However, he thinks that the property is not convenient for their lives and wants to sell it, even if he has to go against his mother-in-law Victoria. Both have different priorities and subsequently get mingled up in different lives. Elisabeth has to cater to her father’s employees on her sister’s birthday, while John John veers off to a criminal underworld to take care of his single mother.

On the other hand, he has to take occasional beatings from his mother’s abusive boyfriend. And when he puts up with a fight, the guy takes it out on his mother by threatening to break up with her. All of them ultimately lead quite unfulfilled lives, and universal humane essence guides the story. At its core, the story is a multifaceted exploration of the theme of love.

Frank loves his daughter and does not divulge that he saw John John in the surveillance footage. Maria loves John John and breaks up with her boyfriend in the first instant when she sees him behaving with John John in a derogatory way. In the end, Sluggo has to die as a seeming victim in a love triangle, while the central lovebirds emerge unscathed in the end, although handcuffed. Therefore, although the story is fictional, the manifold intricacies give it an air of realism.

Read More: Where Was JJ+E Filmed?