Ghost World

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Year Released: 2001
Rating: 3.5

Depressing but insightful character study of two teenage girls (Thora Birch, Scarlet Johansson) in their days post-high school - one winds up heading towards conformity, the other to anonymity. Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes - who penned the amazing graphic novel - capture that transitional state from adolescence to adulthood with such keen detail that the picture is almost painful to watch, every minute true, every roll-of-the-eyes at the "freaks" and "weirdoes" that the girls think are "so different" from them completely authentic. What they never realize is how they use mocking as a form of self-defense to not only raise themselves above the muck and squalor but also to protect themselves from the critical backlash of others (Birch washes out her "punk rock" hair dye after being met with jeers from a VHS bootlegger she buys from). Ends on note of ambiguity that fits all that preceded it - indeed, realization that life is not fair, normal or understanding is a bitter blow for the hopelessly naïve. I can sympathize.