on 1 August 2005
There is just something about this film!
Very atmospheric with brilliant cinematography and an almost permanent air of melancholy and loss.
Quite funny in parts but it's the overpowering sense of gloominess which makes the film - honest!
The two female leads are excellent as is Steve Buscemi. The haunting piano theme tune compliments the visuals and the opening dance sequence (from a 1960s Bollywood musical) is amazing.
I'd like to have learned more about the anti-semitic redneck character's relationship with Enid (Thora Birch) but as I've not read the book I don't know if this line is pursued futher in print. (The comic book is also available from Amazon.)
I'd thoroughly recommend you check out this movie. The odd thing is that my kids (female,ages 12 & 14) don't like it but I (male age 45) do! Maybe they are a bit too young for all that angst!
on 28 February 2009
This is a triumph of literature and film, this is a comic book adaptation that deserves nothing but praise, and let us not have the narrow minded and elitist view that just because its source material is a comic book, it doesn't deserve praise.
This is the most accurate account of a coming of age story I have ever seen. Enid and Rebecca are an Everyman. They represent what we have all been through in trying to adjust into adult life after being carefree and sheltered while at school. The notion that whilst Enid stands static while all around moves and adapts to new surroundings and responsibilities is ever present. Enid (Birch) represents us all in many ways, who amongst us has never longed for something less mundane and uniform? She is very if a little too individualistic, she is reaching out for some comfort and even though she relishes something different she wants something familiar also.
This is a very bitter-sweet and humorous film, all characters are very well developed and over the top of the coming of age thread is the development of the relationship between Enid and Seymour(Buscemi). Both in their own ways non conformists. Seymour is the odd-ball who is lonely and tricked by Enid into going to a diner to meet a woman who he thinks has replied to his personals advertisement in the local paper. After feeling bad and discovering that he lives close by, she befriends him and they find that they have much in common. At first she sees him as a curiosity and something to be played with, but as the they see more of each other there is a genuine affection towards him.
Whilst this is happening the proposed move in the Rebecca (Johansson) keeps being put off. The once indestructible friendship of Enid and Rebecca diminishes rapidly.
On the whole one life is blooming, whilst one is destroyed and one never really starts. This will make you laugh,think and leave you feeling sentimental and sad. The evocative power of this film is great and is a definite must see. With great performances from all concerned, and the unlikely chemistry between Steve Buscemi and Thora Birch excellent.
see it, buy it, you will love it.
on 8 August 2008
This is a really enjoyable film. Focussing its attentions upon the young person's search for identity,the perpetuation/cessation of teen-angst malaise and the fear of conventionality, this is a proverbial hoot. A cracking, well-structured script infectiously and sympathetically portrays an early, formative rites-of-passage tale with infectious and engaging humour. Everything that "Juno" ought to have been but wasn't, this is a must-see movie!
on 27 September 2005
"Ghost World" is another one of those off the wall quirky films that it is almost impossible to categorise, but suffice it to say that the film is extremely entertaining and one to definitely check out.
The story concerns two recently graduated high school students, Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson). Both girls are slightly outlandish, smart and probably extremely intelligent, but stand aside from their peer groups, thinking all others are un-cool or stupid. Released from the confines of the school system the girls plan to rent a flat together and find work. The first obstacle in their plans is the discovery that Enid must attend summer art school which means she cannot work. So whereas Rebecca settles down to a boring but steady job in the local coffee shop, Enid is left to wander the street of the town.
The girls in their boredom hatch a plot to set up the poster of a personal ad in the local newspaper. The innocent poster is a middle aged nobody called Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who has a liking for obscure old records and antique advertisements. Enid and Seymour set up a unlikely relationship and begin to accompany each other to a range of events and concerts. Unfortunately when Seymour begins a proper romantic relationship with a lady Enid finds herself on the sidelines somewhat. Going back to Rebecca she finds that she seems to knuckling down to hard work and intent on renting the flat and generally settling down to a more conventional lifestyle.
The film's major plus point is the superb observational skills it shows. There is one scene in the blues bar where Enid looks around her at the different young men on display which is quite superb, without any dialogue we know exactly what she is thinking.
The performances from the main leads are great. Both Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson strike the right level of peculiarity and yet we can still relate to these two very individual characters. Birch, who gets about twice as much scene time as Johansson is well worth the extra attention and this is another big tick on her CV. Steve Buscemi as ever is fantastic but what's really refreshing here is to see him in a romantic role, something he pulls off with much aplomb.
As with most off-beat films, it's not going to be to everyone's taste and there's some who are going to hate it, probably especially for the wide-open ending, but there's some real magical moments in here, and even leaving those aside, I've never seen Thora Birch looking so good (honestly!) and I loved every bizarre outfit she got into. (Especially the bat-mask!)
on 15 September 2002
Unless you're familiar with Daniel Clowes' adult comic books, you might think this black comedy is about the supernatural. It isn't. It's about those plain, often-unnoticed people who function out-of-the-mainstream. Thora Birch stars as Enid, a recent high-school grad who's decided to skip college, find a job and get an apartment with her best-friend, Rebecca. But when she discovers she has to take a summer remedial art course to get her diploma, Enid's plans get derailed. The chaos begins when the girls wickedly fake a response to a personals ad and lure a lonely loser named Seymour to a diner, thinking he's going to meet the girl of his dreams. Since he knows he can't relate to 99% of humanity, Seymour shows no outward indignation, sipping a vanilla milkshake, patiently waiting. Peering through horned-rimmed glasses, utterly intrigued, Enid stalks him. She discovers he's obsessed with collecting vintage 78 rpm records and, significantly, that they have a lot in common. At the same time, her single father decides to move his girl-friend in, her relationship with Rebecca deteriorates, her "racist" art class project turns into a local scandal, and she's deeply conflicted about her strange feelings for thirtysomething Seymour. This is an intriguing coming-of-age story and well worth a watch!
on 14 October 2002
ENID (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlet Johansson)are decidedly underwhelmed when they finish high school.
They appear to be carefree, aimless individuals, who have seemingly given no thought with what they are going to do with their lives.
So they pass the time by pretending to stalk people, annoying their 'friend' Josh (Brad Renfro) at the local shop and making sarcastic comments all day.
Out of this lazy boredom they decide to play a cruel prank on Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who has placed an advert in the personal section of the local newspaper.
However the joke backfires as Enid starts to grow fond of the awkward loner, with the huge vinyl record collection and vast array of pointless artefacts.
And their burgeoning friendship takes many strange turns that will lead them both to find a purpose for their lives.
Above all GhostWorld is a glorification of unpopularity. It celebrates the outsider and recognises the fact that abnormality does exist in the usually saccharine sweet world of American films that focus on teenagers.
It is peppered with caustic comments and huge dollops of humour, as Enid refuses to conform and Seymour frequently admits his own shortcomings.
GhostWorld is the antithesis of films like American Pie, where everyone bows to the consensus, instead it triumphs oddity and idiosyncracies.
At times its uncomfortable characters compare with those in Todd Solondz's dark masterpiece Happiness (1998), although thankfully things don't turn out quite so badly for Enid and Seymour in this wonderful film.
on 19 January 2003
When I first watched the opening sequence to the film, I thought that someone had switched the films in the box - I was greeted by a brash '60's Cuban/Bollywood kitsch dance routine. About 40 seconds later, the viewpoint changed to a window-view of isolated individuals in their apartments, ending up, focusing on the heroine of the story, Enid, dancing around in her bedroom to the music.
Enid, and her best friend Rebecca, graduate from high-school into the world with a sarcstic and arrogant attitude about the people who co-habit the city with them. They have an opinion about everything, and are not afraid to vocalise their contempt, and make mockery out of life in general. One incident, however, backfires on Enid, when she spots a personals ad in the paper from a man who is searching for someone he met once in an airport(Seymour). She makes a prank call to observe him at the meeting point that she has set up, but begins to develop the first pangs of consiense when she sees him.
In her bid to make a conection, and to discover something different to the current 'fad', Enid discovers a kindred spirit in Seymour, particularly with the music. Seymour may be an introverted misfit, but he also has a spurious view on the idiots that he co-habits the planet with, choosing to spurn a puerile social life and replace it by obsessively collecting old vinyl singles.
As the film progresses, it focuses on Enid's relationships with people and the world around her as the comfortable buffer-zone of high-school retracts and the cocky opinionated young girl begins to adapt to her new place in the world.
Ghost World works very well, because the film adapts with Enid's transgression. Part of her rebels at every trite comment made, and sees a world filled with losers and geeks. Another part of her is trying to conform to this society in some way or else she will become one of these losers.
Personally, I felt that on occasion, the film would lose itself, and on occasion, seemed to get drawn out into scenes where nothing of interest or consequence was conveyed. However, there are some brilliant performances that more than compensate, the characters are well-placed and tragi-comic, from the opinionated art-teacher who seems not to have a clue,the old guy at the out-of-service bus terminal who is waiting for the bus, and the man who uses an Apple Mac to solve the trivia question of the day in a local cafe, up to the main characters themselves.
Ghost World is not a roller-coaster of hilarity, but rather, a wry, enjoyable look at adulthood from a novice adult.
on 10 December 2004
ghost world is a fantastic movie. thora birch was the idea actress to play the lead role. i feel that this movie speaks volumes to the countless directionless people wondering around in this world that always fails to live up to its expectations. its intelligent perspective leaves the veiwer with a lasting sense of the films cynicism (or should i say just realism?) and the ending is quite honestly its biggest triumph as the nameless place she leaves to on the bus somewhat implys two things 1) no matter where you go it wont make any difference 2) isnt this essentailly what we are all doing when we think were moving on? just going to another place to make no diffence? a complete postmodernist cynical masterpiece that echoes with far more truth and watchability than any saccerine sweet hollywood epic ever could. a slap in the face for all deluded veiwers with no shock tactics except the truth.
on 20 March 2003
For anyone who has had to live in this frequently disappointing world, Ghost World will strike a sustained note of authenticity. The film's opening sardonic moments are reminiscent of Happiness, but as the plot follows the adventures of Enid and Seymour the tone softens to envince a genuine affection for the characters in the viewer as they struggle to find a sense of wonder in an almost ovewhemingly banal environment. Reviewers constrained by conventional categorisations will probably define this film as a coming of age movie, but this only shows how barren the Hollywood-led genre-creation business is. Ghost World is funnier than any comedy made since Happiness, more affecting than any issue movie. It has a superb cast but special mention must go to Thora Birch, and Steve Buscemi, who subtly plays a character whose quirky sweetness could easily have gone the way of caricature ( a risk, one would think, in a film based on a comic strip, sorry 'graphic novel'). Even for those with no experience of the Ghost world's alienating environment, the film's veractiy is potent and only shows up how divorced from reality modern film making has become. Great soundtrack, too.
on 5 January 2005
Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are two teenagers who are simply too cool for anyone. They fulfil their apathetic lives by mocking others and going by the philosophy that everything pretty much sucks. After a cruel prank on a local loser, Seymour (Steve Buscemi), Enid becomes almost addicted to Seymour out of guilt and curiosity. Slowly as the friendship grows closer, Enid and Rebecca's grows further apart until Seymour get a girlfriend and Enid is stuck alone, in Ghost World.
Based on the underground comic book, Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff's script is a breath of fresh air, and Zwigoff's subtle direction is perfect for this film. The two leads are great, and the colourful characters that are built around them (Norman-the man who I waiting for the bus that never will come, the 'satanists' etc) make for a fun-filled little movie that I would recommend to anyone.