Quick Cuts: "Ghost World" Movie Review by Andy Schopp

Release Date: 2001
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Written By: Daniel Clowes, Terry Zwigoff
Starring: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi
Rated: R
Run Time: 111 minutes

Ghost World follows the path of a young high school graduate named Enid (Birch) and her best friend Rebecca (Johansson) as they attempt to resist the pull of modern society and find their own path in the world. The story really boils down to two main premises: 1. A girl trying to figure out what she means to herself and to the world, and 2. How once you separate from the people that help mold you into who you will become, do you continue down the same path or do you adapt to fit your environment at the (sometimes) expense of others?

I really like this movie, I just want to say that out right. I think this movie is a very good interpretation of coming to age in the "modern" world...or at least it was when I was coming to age when the movie came out. I like the stupidity but at the same time innocence of Enid; I think Birch plays the part of a semi-confused, overconfident, low self-esteem 18-year-old who doesn't know how she fits into the world wonderfully. It's only made better once she meets Seymour (Buscemi), a man in his 40's that has lost his childhood but strives to hang on to it by collecting antiques and vintage records that no one has ever heard of. The two make an amazing "couple" as they attempt to discover exactly what the world has in store for them. The plot unfolds with Rebecca getting multiple jobs and living mostly on her own; she stuck to her guns, figured out her plan, and went with it. In a lot of ways, she plays the straight arrow of the two girls; she sees reality for what it can be and chooses to "conform" to what society expects of her. It arouses the question of "Is it better to accept reality and grow up or stay true to exactly who you are and what you believe in?" I can tell you that the movie lets you make up your own mind on the question and decide for yourself which path is the "right" one.

The movie has a well fit soundtrack that I think should score it a few points at least on originality and use of popular culture. The acting from the younger crowd in this is also very well done, and it makes sense to me why Johansson has become a household name in the acting community after watching an "earlier" piece of her work here. Buscemi's role is also wonderfully acted. It's spot on. He nailed it and then nailed it again, and then he went and took all of those nails and built a house out of it! It's a subtle and extremely difficult thing to act a role as though it weren't a role at all, but he did it.

All in all it's a great and timeless Comedy/Drama that anyone can enjoy! It's definitely worth checking out if you have it around. In fact, if you haven't seen it and you DON'T have it around, go get it. Go rent and/or buy this movie because it's good enough to put up on your shelf!