Ghost World

Thora Birch, Scarlett Johanassen, Steve Buscemi, and Illeana Douglas star in this indie comic turned indie film. Ghost World follows a recent high-school graduate Enid (Birch) and the strange things she does to pass the time including: taking a summer-school art class, harassing people from Personals Ads in the newspaper, harassing the employee of a convenience store, and tracking Satanists. Writer Daniel Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff have managed to craft the most genuine and touching film I have seen this year. The wonderfully honest performances from the stars combine with the creators' skills to present the sort of character and story a viewer could easily identify with. The realistic (and sometimes depressing) sets and costumes create a strong sense of reality while making the film's satiric qualities all the more humorous. The talented cast sometimes accurately depicts everyday people and sometimes hacks them apart with the ugly and oftentimes funny truths of humanity. Sarcasm and satire usually numb an audience, distance them from the film, and therefore prevent them from taking the story seriously. Ghost World expertly avoids this with sporadic displays of genuine warmth and emotion. Buscemi, Birch, and Douglas have never been funnier, and the dryness of Johanassen definitely has its moments. Over time, I can definitely see Ghost World becoming a cult favorite as the coming of age film for people who would roll their eyes at the term "coming of age film."