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"Ghost World"

What an interesting and compelling film this was – absolutely hilarious most of the way through, but a very downbeat last 20 minutes or so, and ends really on a bit of a downer.

The story follows Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) as two social outcasts who have just graduated from high school, and am trying to make their way in the big bad world. Actually it’s mainly Enid’s story, and to be brutal I found Rebecca to be fairly weak. I haven’t yet decided if Scarlett Johansson really is as gorgeous as everyone seems to think she is. So FHM readers apparantly voted her the sexiest woman in the world; not sure I buy it. I’m certainly unconvinced that every boy in the universe would drool over Rebecca while ignorning Enid – Thora Birch has a charm of her own.

Anyway, Enid decides to play a trick on a geek (Seymour – the wonderful Steve Buscemi) who’s put an ad in the personals asking for a woman he met on a plane to get in touch. Enid pretends to be this woman, and arranges to meet at a diner. Of course Seymour turns up, and no-one is there, but Enid finds herself strangely drawn to him – starts stalking him, and they end up becoming friends.

The story was never really the point of this film though. It’s all about observations on life, particularly as an “outsider”. Becky’s transition from outcast to career girl (put far too strongly, but couldn’t think of a better term) while Enid is seemingly happy to remain job-less and prospect-less, hanging with Seymour, sets up a sad tension between the old friends. Then when the woman on the plane does actually get in touch with Seymour, Enid finds it difficult to handle.

In fact, Enid’s life goes completely down the pan, and the last 20 minutes of it go from bad to worse for her. I personally found this a pity. Sure Enid was her own worst enemy, but she could have had one lucky break…

The other major downer about this film was the language, which was awful. At times it seemed like every other word was f*ck or sh*t or “Jesus” or “Christ”. I know I have my own views on swearing and blasphemy, but I found it jarring and un-necessary to keep on with the bad language.

So, swearing aside, I hugely enjoyed the first 80 or 90 minutes. It was entrancing really, and I kept chuckling to myself throughout this period. In fact the way the dice fell, I watched all of this in one sitting, and the last half an hour or so the next day. So overnight I was still chuckling about bits and pieces in the film, and came back expecting more of the same. The last bit was frankly just heavy and depressing, and the original light touch and humour had completely evaporated. Not that I wanted it to end picture perfect, but Enid’s entire world (such as it was) was torn apart, and left in pieces as the credit rolled. To be honest writing this a day later is still making me sad and ache for her – she wasn’t a bad person, just a bit messed up.

Anyway, I’ll pull myself together enough to say this is definitely one to watch if you like teeny outcasty angsty films (although this a long way from Mean Girls and American Pie – probably closer to Girl, Inerrupted, but funnier). I can’t see I’ll be buying it – with a different ending perhaps, but it’s just too downbeat for me.

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