this exchange is even more endearing if you consider that Isak is normally not someone who uses a lot of smileys. his texts are usually quite short and dry. chiller hjemme without a smiley is a text he would totally send. to anyone other than Even.
i know we love to make fun of Isak for being about as chill as a snapback on fire, but the thing about playing hard to get is that you need to have a certain level of confidence to pull it off. you need to believe that you have something the other person will want even when they’re not getting it for free. you need to believe that you are enough. and Isak’s not quite there yet. which is why it was so easy for him to take Sonja’s word for it when she said Even doesn’t love him for real, it’s just his mania speaking. she was basically just validating a fear he had had since the beginning. not a fear of mental illness but a fear of not being enough. Even is older and more experienced, he is super tall and super smooth and has the confidence of a film star, he breaks into houses and dresses up as god and knows all the bands and films and directors. he is radiant. his presence lights up a room. why would someone like Even settle for a boy who is two years younger and ten times more awkward.
the most beautiful thing is how Isak gets over his fear. he becomes confident. in his own skin and with other people. he cries after reading the text from his mum because his mum is telling him he is enough. and in the final scene when he looks across the room and sees Even standing there, he is not looking at a god, he is looking at Even, his equal, the person he chose and the person who chose him, and he has the confidence to make that choice work.
so Isak lacks the confidence to play hard to get with Even. that’s one half of the story. but i think there’s also just so much kindness in him, so much kindness for Even. he always compliments Even’s drawings. he never raises his voice, not even in the hotel room when he’s tired and Even keeps running in circles. i still firmly believe in my theory of him giving Even his favourite pillow. he doesn’t make his feelings a big display, but they are there, in his small acts of kindness. he already gave Even a harshly worded ultimatum. so now he wants to give the boy a smiley.