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Ghost World


Ghost World, 2001
IMDB Details Ghost World

Ghost World is the story, or a brief section of the story of two recent high school graduates, Enid and Rebecca played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johannsen respectively. In a nutshell, the film is about the awkward stage between childhood and adulthood and about the time when one realizes that he/she is largely responsible for how things will turn out. Faced with that realization, the two take tentative steps toward becoming independent but not without falling backwards as well.

As I was watching this film, I found myself almost constantly returning to the question in my mind "why is it called Ghost World?" It did finally hit me that the film for the most part is about finding oneself, the loneliness that doing so can lead to, and about the way that people, despite physical proximity to one another, basically live in disconnected realities. In that context, I suppose other people can seem ghost like in the way that they haunt the periphery of our lives. I can honestly say that I've never seen this idea depicted as truthfully as it is depicted in Ghost World.

The main character, Enid, is desperate for some sort real connection that is so obviously missing from her life.
Her best friend, Rebecca, is the closest thing she has and even Rebecca tells Enid that she doesn't really 'get' her when Enid attempts to externalize things that she's feeling. None of this is obvious and watching the film requires one to think about the situations as they happen.

One of my favorite characters in the film is Norman who is an old man who's waiting for a bus.
The girls point out to him that the bus no longer comes down the street that he is waiting on but Norman refuses to listen and is seen throughout the film simply waiting. This becomes a major plot point that I won't give away here, but suffice it to say that there is a huge lesson to be learned from Norman.

Don't miss it.

The acting is superb, Thora Birch seemed made for the part as her particular blend of attitude and wry humor perfectly suits the character of Enid. Also, Steve Buscemi as Seymour was the perfect fit for the sort of mentor/love interest/friend to Enid. I'm quite certain that his name (see more) is not an accident as he has a habit of nailing things down throughout the film.

Watch the film and, most importantly, watch the things boiling under the surface.