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Ghost World

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Ghost World

Starring: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Steve Buscemi, David Cross, Illeana Douglas, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, Ezra Buzzington, Bruce Glover, Brad Renfro

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

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 folk who function out-of-the-mainstream. Thora Birch ("American Beauty") 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 (Scarlett Johansson). 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. "He's such a clueless dork, he's almost cool," she muses. 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. Co-written by Daniel Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff ("Crumb"), the poignant, pessimistic cynicism fairly drips off the screen as Thora Birch glides into the kind of rebellious role that Christina Ricci has vacated. As the hypersensitive dork, Steve Buscemi is perfect, as is Illeana Douglas, Scarlett Johansson, Bob Balaban and Brad Renfro. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Ghost World" is a weird, satirical 8. It's an intriguing coming-of-age story that haunts.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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