Review: Ghost World (spoilers)
Enid isn't Daria. I want to make that clear. Everybody was very quick to stereotype the character of Enid, and the movie Ghost World before the movie even came out.
Ghost World is very different from most movies and tv shows with the theme of alienated youth. Ghost World presents a story with real characters with a real settings. It doesn't dumb down everything in sight in order to make is easier for Enid to make fun of the world around her. It doesn't even paint a very pretty picture of its main character.
This said, I will now review Ghost World .
Like most of the listologers these days, I've found myself surrounded by very, very, very bad movies. There were the movies that didn't even try to be anything other than awful ( Jurrasic Park III ), and there were movies that attempted greatness and ended up with pretensions and dissapointed audiences ( A.I. ). Dejected and disenfranchised by the sheer amount of mindless "entertainment", I went off and acted in a play. I played Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in the heart of Washington D.C. (ok, Cleaveland Park, but still, near the heart). While I acted, I discovered the beauty of a Metro stop called Dupont Circle (to those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, I'm sorry, please indulge me). I began frequenting Dupont with my then girlfriend Alexandra (who played Leonata in the play). I saw Hedwig , The Deep End , Bridget Jones's Diary , and With a Friend Like Harry in D.C., and I am a better man for it. After the play was over, we had a mini reunion of the cast members and went to see Ghost World . Dear Lord. I loved this movie.
Ghost World is perhaps the most inventive and true to life teen movie ever. The story revolves around Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johanssen), two teens who look down on almost the entire world. Well, Enid does at least. Rebecca and Enid are best friends, but Rebecca yearns to grow up, or at least a little bit away from Enid. Enid and Rebecca hang around their dumpy little town, and frequent such spots as the local convenience store where Enid's crush (Brad Renfro) works (not to mention the hang out spot of a hilarious redneck), the diner that Enid and Rebecca love to meet at, and the local "authentic" 50's recreation restaurant where the juke box plays gansta' rap. On one of their excursions, Enid and Rebecca decide to write a prank answer to a personal to lure the writer to the restaurant. It works, and Seymoure (Steve Buscemi) walks into Enid's life. Seymoure is a geek, and initially Enid looks down on him. But, over time, Seymoure turns out to be a real person, and someone Enid really likes.
As the movie progresses, Rebecca and Enid grown farther apart, and Enid discovers that maybe she isn't better than everyone after all. Enid's revelations aren't done in a cheesy way, but more in a sad, near-tragic style. Enid and Seymoure flirt with each other constantly, and one hopes that they'll end up together, but of course, in real life, that's impossible.
Thora Birch turns in a wonderful performance as the cruel, but thawing Enid. Her range is very impressive, and her acting chops allow the viewer to get into Enid's head, and discover what makes her tick.
Steve Buscemi gives his best performance ever as Seymoure. Instead of playing Seymoure as a pathetic geek, he plays Seymoure as a heartfelt, tender geek. Buscemi's comedic gifts are really used to perfection as well as his hound dog looks.
Scarlett Johanssen has the toughest role as Enid's foil Rebecca. She's the least written character, yet perhaps the most interesting in many ways. She longs to grow up, yet deep down knows that Enid's her friend.
There are many brillaint things about this movie, Birch's, Buscemi's, and Johannsen's performances, the role that Illeanna Douglas plays as Enid's art teacher, Terry Zwigoff's direction, and Daniel Clowes' adaptation of his own graphic novel. All of them come together to form one of the funniest, most interesting movies to come around in a long time. I really think that stereotyping Ghost World as a Daria live action is stupid. Its ever so much more.
Ghost World: A