Quirky has always been cool, at least to Enid and Rebecca, the stars of Ghost World(2001). Never conform, being popular is for losers and every hipster is better than the people around them – that’s the mentality Enid and Rebecca as they graduate high school in this coming-of-age tale.
Ghost World, written by Daniel Clowes, who also penned the graphic novel this film is based on, follows Enid (played by Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) through the summer as they grow up and grow away from each other. Staying true to the graphic novel, Enid and Rebecca play a mean prank on a socially-awkward middle-age man, Seymour. The characters in the novel and the film both follow the same anti-establishment mentality, making fun of the waiter for looking like Weird Al and playing tricks on an innocent man. The film deviates when Enid establishes a relationship with Seymour, bonding over old blues records. Rebecca and Enid’s relationship begins to suffer when Rebecca beings to conform more to the world around them, getting a job at a Starbucks-esque store and looking for an apartment.
Maybe I’m cynical, or maybe I tend to conform to a more conventional mentality, but I think the quirky, off the wall characters were difficult for me to connect to. The film opens up on Enid dancing to a 1950’s film, she wears mini-skirts with Doc Martins, dyes her hair green to complete a 1970’s British punk look that no one understands and, god-forbid, she actually listens to music from the 90s. I couldn’t relate to her desire to be so unbelievably different that she looked down on those who had any normal convention in their life.
One interesting detail that I noticed was the clothing colors throughout the film. In the beginning, Rebecca and Enid wear the same dark or harsh clothing colors (black, grey, red) but as the relationship begins to shift and Rebecca starts to adjust to a more “normal” life, she is show wearing pinks, purples and Enid remains in her deep red dresses, colored lipstick and Doc Martins.
Not to ruin the film, but this doesn’t have a happy, Hollywood ending – and I don’t think this film needs one. Enid was stuck in a rut, with no one to understand her quirkiness, a mistake of a relationship with a man too similar to herself and no job or career in sight. The viewers are left with the same unknown Enid has in her life.
Did I want to see Thora Birch hook up with Steve Buscemi? Not really. And judging by the groans in the room, not many people in my class did either…
I understand why people like it, but I think the characters rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn’t find anyone to connect with enough to stay interested. I did however, enjoy the lack of blood and guts that has seem to frequent our viewing choices recently.
It was fun to see a few gifs that I have saved on my computer in an actually context, i. e.