Plot: Enid (Thora Birch) just graduated from high school, but has no real plans for her future, aside from being forced to retake an art class to satisfy the final requirement of her high school education. She and her friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) want to move in together and just have fun doing what they’ve always done, but in order to do that, they’ll need to find work to fund their plan. They also pass the time by interacting with various colorful locals, including an odd man named Seymour (Steve Buscemi) who they met when they answered his personal ad as a joke, but Enid decided to keep hanging out with him afterwards. As a little time passes, Enid begins to sense that things are in a state of change around her, but she doesn’t feel the need to evolve with this shift. As Rebecca settles into a normal job, an art class rival surpasses her, and even Seymour seems to have a new lease on life, what will become of Enid and will she be able to find her place in this changing world?
Entertainment Value: Based on the comic book of the same name, Ghost World is a simple, but well crafted tale about a young woman who tries to find her place in the world after graduation. The movie builds a world that feels real and lived in, populated with a wealth of eccentric, memorable characters, from the main players to background roles that have a single appearance. I think that is why I connect with Ghost World as much as I do, as I don’t really vibe with the hipster elements, but it is all presented in such an authentic fashion. I can’t imagine anyone else in the Seymour role for example, as Steve Buscemi just seems like such a natural for the part. Thora Birch is a little more of a reach as Enid, but she embraces the hipster vibe and runs with it, while Scarlett Johansson is quite good in a more reserved persona. I think Ileana Douglas shines here as well, as the obliviously pretentious art teacher, though the performance is dialed a little over the top compared to her costars. The narrative is a simple one, but it works and allows the characters to push the progression, so it again returns to how natural and authentic Ghost World feels. So don’t let the hipster elements scare you off, this is a fun, well written, and well constructed picture.
No nakedness. The movie has some minor instances of sexual content, but no nudity or graphic moments unfold. One scene puts Enid inside an adult bookstore, but she is more concerned about a Batman inspired fetish mask than anything else. No blood. The movie has no real violence outside of an absurd outburst at a convenience store, but that is for laughs, not tense violence. Ghost World has some terrific dialogue, including a lot of hipster lingo and people letting each other know how much cooler they are than everyone else. This kind of pretentious content is balanced though, keeping even the more oblivious characters likable to an extent. So most of the lines are someone trying to seem cultured or above those around them, which I found to be hilarious, but not everyone is into the hipster dynamic. In any event, this one has some terrific lines and some really humorous banter between colorful characters. The narrative here keeps things simple and aside from the more eccentric characters, it stays within the bounds of a drama/comedy.
Overall Insanity: 1/10