Coming-of-age themes are an obvious choice for movie-makers but All Over Me
is far from being run of the mill. It follows the friendship and codependence of two 15-year-old New York girls, one (Claude) gradually coming to terms with the fact that she's gay, the other (Ellen), getting sucked into a world of boys, violence and drugs. It brilliantly and sympathetically realised by film-maker sisters Alex and Sylvia Sichel, with superb performances by the two leads, Alison Folland and Tara Subkoff.
When the violent, homophobic murder of the girls' new-found friend, Jesse (Wilson Cruz) threatens to rip them apart, Ellen embarks on a trail of self-destruction while Claude finally seems able to come to terms with her own destiny, ultimately getting together with the pretty, magenta-haired punk musician, Lucy (a superbly empathetic performance from Leisha Hailey). It's a film that's saved from introspective self-indulgence by the brutal interruption of the outside world, and it's not just a thought-provoking hour-and-a-half, it's a compelling narrative experience. The only weakness is the two-dimensional characterization of Ellen's psychotic boyfriend, well enough played by Cole Hauser, but intrinsically limited in scope. Ann Dowd is superb as Claude's man-chasing mother and the film is topped off by a funky soundtrack.
On the DVD: All over Me doesn't just offer the "usual theatrical trailer" for the film in question but instead offers trailers for two related films, Better than Chocolate and Trick, both of which deal truthfully with gay issues offering a light and often humorous touch. However, that's it as far as additional goodies are concerned, which is a shame, but the vibrant soundtrack is presented in a great Dolby Digital sound. --Harriet Smith
Claude (Alison Folland, Boys Don't Cry) is a cute, young skateboarding teenager who has a thing for her messed-up best friend, Ellen (Tara Subkoff, The Notorious Bettie Page). Ellen however is in a rut with her homophobe boyfriend (Cole Hauser, The Cave). Enter Luke, a self-assured gay musician, who encourages Claude to actually explore her feelings and perceptions of herself and the world that she lives in. Heeding this advice, Claude finds her way to the local lesbian bar where she meets Lucy (Leisha Hailey, The L Word), a cute punkish girl playing in an all female band. But is this the lifestyle that Claude really wants?
Lesbian cult classic 'All Over Me' is a pull-no-punches riot grrl fairytale about a baby-dyke's coming of age - and coming out - in the beatnik neighbourhood of Hell's Kitchen, New York.