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Thora Birch is Enid, a high school grad unsure of what to do with the rest of her life. She thinks she will rent an apartment with her best friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), but with no job and summer school (for flunking art), nothing is certain. In a similar spot is Seymour (Steve Buschemi), a record collector who can't see any real meaning to his actions. Enid and Rebecca play a seemingly harmless prank on him after seeing a classified ad he put in the paper. Quite to the surprise of the duo, this little stunt really hurts Seymour. Guilty, Enid feels obligated to hook him up with the girl he was looking for in the ad.
What is remarkable about "Ghost World" is not that it is more entertaining than your average teen entertainment. No, what strikes me about "Ghost World" is how astutely it remembers the feeling of displacement that plagues so many teens. Enid doesn't seem to have many friends who respect her, and as cynical as she may get, human contact is the obvious ingredient missing in her life, even though she is constantly pushing it away. Rebecca urges her to get a job, so she gets a job working at a concession stand in a multiplex. That same day, she's fired for too many wise remarks about the theater and it's customers.Read more ›
And that's what critics of this fine film have overlooked -- that although 17-year-old Enid (Thora Birch) looks at the world with bitter, unremittingly sarcastic eyes, "Ghost World" couldn't be less cynical or judgmental if it tried. Of all the characters on display, most of whom Enid despises and ridicules, there isn't a single one who isn't really good at heart; even the art teacher (a ridiculously funny Illeana Douglas), who has been derided as a one-dimensional caricature, has an untouchable core of decency.
Indeed, the character for whom "Ghost World" retains the harshest criticism is Enid herself. As much as we adore her terrifying intelligence, her single-mindedly retro fashion sense, and her contempt for all things phony and pretentious, we aren't allowed to forget her self-destructive habits or her unwillingness to grow up even as the world around her charges resolutely forward. Her best friend, Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), once her partner in crime, has taken on a normalcy and sense of perspective that Enid finds tiresome, which is partly why she takes refuge in a lonely middle-aged bachelor named Seymour (Steve Buscemi, in a shoulda-been-Oscar-nominated performance). Their bond is at once improbable and emotionally convincing, and Zwigoff harmonizes Birch's and Buscemi's own highly idiosyncratic styles into a marvelous, unforced chemistry.Read more ›
"Ghost World" tells the story of Enid (played by Thora Birch) and her best friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johannson), recent high school grads who are struggling through this transitional phase in their lives. Early in the film the girls, who scorn much of "mainstream" society, play a cruel joke on an eccentric loner named Seymour (Steve Buscemi). But what begins as a joke leads into a quirky, engaging relationship between Seymour and Enid. The main story is well complemented by some equally quirky subplots, all of which blend together to form an effective larger story.
"Ghost World" is filled with witty, funny, irony-laden dialogue. And these great words are delivered with flair by the wonderful cast. Birch really shines as an offbeat leading lady; her performance has bite, but she's also appealing and vulnerable. Johannson complements her well as pal Rebecca, and Ileana Douglas is a lot of fun as Enid's politically conscious summer school art teacher. And I can't say enough good things about Steve Buscemi as Seymour. He takes what could have been a stereotypical antisocial loser and instead brings real depth and humanity to the character.
The great script and performances are well enhanced by thoughtful, inventive production details; "Ghost World" is almost as much fun to look at as it is to listen to. This is a really outstanding film that effectively deals with such universal issues as alienation, nonconformity, friendship, and the transition to young adulthood.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very odd sort of movie. I wanted to shut it off numerous times, but I hung in there. The reference to the bus was confusing and I wonder what happened to her at the end.Published 2 days ago by David Sanderson
Steve buschemi- good
Scarlett Johansson- good
Main character- don't remember her name, decent acting, very dysfunctional character; I found her noncommittal annoying and... Read more
Enid and Rebecca, classic high school malcontents, have finally graduated. They're ready for adult life to start—but, like teenagers throughout time, they don't know what that... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kevin L. Nenstiel
Two bitter, jaded teen girls comment about life. One grows up and gets a job and the other romances an older man and eventually takes a bus to leave her town - failing to grow up.Published 10 days ago by C. Fisk