Like Betty and Rita in Mulholland Dr., Enid and Rebecca inhabit an exclusive, though rapidly disintegrating world--Ghost World. The fall begins with high school graduation.

"Can you believe we finally made it?" enthuses a classmate.
"Yeah, we graduated from high school," Enid deadpans. "How totally amazing."

But Enid hasn't graduated--she has to retake an art class in summer school. And unlike Rebecca, who passed, got a job, and started shopping around for an apartment and kitchen supplies, Enid is stuck in the past. She experiments with new looks, but sticks with old materials, including a snood, and later an "authentic circa 1977 punk look." She even gets nostalgic about the people who won't be around for her to despise anymore. So she and Rebecca go looking for somebody new to victimize.


"I would kill for a collection like this." (Thora Birch & Steve Buscemi)

Almost immediately they find Seymour, a middle-aged bachelor who wears a truss, collects rare blues albums and racist advertising, and is funny looking in a general sort of way. Rebecca, whose new job exposes her to a non-stop parade of weirdoes tires of him quickly. Enid, however, is fascinated to the point of hero worship. When she sees his collection, she declares she would kill for it. "Ha!" he scoffs. "Go ahead and kill me."


"Go ahead and kill me."

Seymour is further along the road to non-conformity that Enid wants to travel and Rebecca wants to abandon. While many movies celebrate the idea of non-conformity, few of them have Ghost World's insight. Those on the outs with the mainstream pay a price in loneliness, in suffering ridicule, and in being stuck with a group of friends they don't like. With equal parts sympathy and brutal honesty, director and co-writer Terry Zwigoff with co-writer and author of the Ghost World comic books Daniel Clowes examine a species of character usually ignored or misrepresented in movies. The hard core record groupies in Ghost World will be cranky, badly dressed, and unpopular yesterday, today, and tomorrow, unlike their counterparts in High Fidelity who in the end are all redeemed by romantic and or commercial success. This is not to say that nerds cannot find love and happiness, it just isn't likely to come in the form of record contracts and Nordic knockouts. Nor will Enid and Rebecca continue to play their demeaning games without consequence. As long as they have each other and dwell in an insulated bubble of adolescence, they manage. But that won't last forever. "May we call you 'Weird Al'?" Rebecca haughtily asks a waiter with an unfortunate haircut, little imagining she will soon be on the receiving end of customer abuse. Rebecca also tires of Enid's casual discourtesies. She begins to understand that the price of admission to adulthood is personal responsibility and forbearance, and she's interested in paying.


Or selling out, as Enid sees it. She had grown accustomed to a low-cost partnership. There was no supply of friends for her or Rebecca, so they made no demands upon each other. Seymour changed the economy. The time Enid spent with him decreased Rebecca's dependence on her and increased his. Enid promised her friends a lot, then welshed on her agreements. Rebecca, who had learned from recent experience not to trust her, pretty much packed away her childhood friendship when she moved into her apartment. Seymour, who rejected a not quite suitable adult relationship to consort with a feckless teenager, snapped back to childhood as a result: jobless, and attended by a hovering mother and learning life lessons in the office of a condescending therapist.

Enid, who rejects the futures and cultures that Rebecca and Seymour represent, wanders into the sunset. She is friendless and alone, and frankly had it coming. But perhaps she has finally graduated from high school era flippancy and selfishness--how totally amazing.

Cast Away
The House of Mirth
Mulholland Dr.
AI: Artificial Intelligence
Angel Eyes

Back to Cobra Movies

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)