High school graduate Enid (Thora Birch) is a non-conformist who rejects the superficial world she sees around her in L.A. but is a lost soul. With the support of her best friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), Enid answers a newspaper classified, pretending to be the woman sought by eccentric record collector Seymour (Steve Buscemi). Initially planning to humiliate Seymour from a distance, Enid decides to make contact and finds herself unexpectedly attracted to his peculiar ways.
 

4
Finally a teen movie with depth.

Enid, Thora Birch, and Rebecca, Scarlett Johansson, were pretty much fringe dwellers in high school, and they liked it that way. Disdainful of the conforming masses they’re not going to college because that’s what everyone does. Rebecca gets a job and organises the flat that she and Enid planned to share, but Enid has to attend summer art classes with teacher Roberta, Illeana Douglas, in order to graduate. She’s much more at home roaming the strip malls and thrift shops looking for any opportunity to irritate and annoy anyone who crosses her path. And then they meet up with Seymour, Steve Buscemi, a man who admits he can’t relate to 99% of humanity. Enid finds herself drawn to this kindred spirit.

This is a teen movie unlike the usual mindless entertainment that’s churned out so often by Hollywood. Zwigoff and Clowes are commenting on American society, reacting against the lack of solidity of anything and the alienation of these particular people from the mainstream. Enid is a truly ungracious person, she’s hard to like but it’s difficult not to have an affection for her, it’s a terrific performance from Thora Birch and costume supervisor Maria Aguilar must have had fun dressing her. Buscemi is terrific, this will be one of his memorable roles. Zwigoff has a purity about him as a filmmaker, an intelligence, even if it’s a slightly skewed one, that he brings to his direction. Ghost World is a really interesting film for a lot of reasons.

Ghost World

Thursday 28 November, 7:30PM on SBS World Movies

M
USA, 2001
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: English
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Starring: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Illeana Douglas, Brad Renfro, Bob Balaban
What's it about?
High school graduate Enid (Birch) is a non-conformist who rejects the superficial world she sees around her in L.A. but is a lost soul. With the support of her best friend Rebecca (Johansson), Enid answers a newspaper classified, pretending to be the woman sought by eccentric record collector Seymour (Buscemi) and an unexpected friendship between the two blossoms. Based on the cult graphic novel from Daniel Clowes, and nominated for a 2002 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.