Ghost World: A Quirky Girl and Her Unexpected Friend | Far Flungers

In Seymour, Enid finds someone who can be a better alternative for friendship because he is much lonelier than she is in many aspects. Whenever he is not working as an assistant manager in a local fast-food restaurant chain, he usually occupies himself with a vast collection of old LP records and other stuff in his residence. There is an amusing scene where Enid and Rebecca are at a loss while attending Seymour’s small private party full of his fellow LP record collectors.

Because Seymour has not had much luck or success in romance, Enid impulsively decides to help her new friend. To their little surprise, that leads to a fairly successful dating for Seymour. Needless to say, both Enid and Seymour subsequently find themselves in a tricky emotional circumstance later in the story. What eventually occurs between them is not exactly surprising to us. Still, the movie never lets their complex relationship be defined by mere attraction, and we come to empathize more with the aching need and confusion inside them.

“Ghost World” was Zwigoff’s first feature film after his two documentary films “Louie Bluie” (1985) and “Crumb” (1994), which is the vivid and fascinating presentation of the life, personality, and career of legendary American cartoonist R. Crumb. As a filmmaker who did not hesitate to delve into his old friend Crumb’s demons while also struggling a lot with his own—he told Roger Ebert that he was so agonized by his back pain during that time that he slept with a gun under his pillow for killing himself at any point—Zwigoff was surely the right director for the dark wit and melancholic sensibility of “Ghost World.” While many of the characters are not very likable, to say the least, their palpable personalities linger a lot more than expected. Even Enid’s hopelessly boring father (played by Bob Balaban) leaves a bit of an impression on us despite his sheer suburban banality.

The main performers of the film are pitch-perfect in their respective roles. As the film’s center, Thora Birch effortlessly embodies the angst and loneliness churning behind her character’s defiantly sardonic attitude, and her co-star Scarlett Johansson dutifully stands by. While the late Brad Renfro is solid as a lad a bit too slow for Enid and Rebecca, Illeana Douglas is hilarious as Enid’s summer art class teacher who unwisely puts the freedom of artistic expression above political correctness when Enid presents one of Seymour’s old stuffs which is quite controversial to say the least. Bob Balaban, Teri Garr, Dave Sheridan, Pat Healy, and David Cross are also enjoyable in their small but colorful supporting parts.