A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this coming-of-age indie follows two best friends the summer after they graduate from high school. The graphic-novel adaptation is not your typical teen flick. There is a lot of strong language ("f--k," "c--t," "p---y" and other curse words are said frequently) and an intimate friendship between an 18-year-old girl and a much older man that's eventually consummated (the couple is briefly shown kissing and then in bed next to each other). The main theme of the movie may go over some teens' heads; it's basically that becoming an adult can be boring and confusing, and how working and conforming is a lot less hip than just doing whatever you want.
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What's the story?
Best friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Becky (Scarlett Johanssen) have just graduated from high school and have no plans to do the complacent college-bound plan. They're going to score a job, move in together, listen to music, play pranks on losers who place personal ads, and hang out like 18-year-old hipsters everywhere. After luring Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a lonely 40-something blues aficionado to a fake date, Enid grows attached to him, alienating Becky and providing a welcome distraction from the boring call of adulthood.
Is it any good?
Director Terry Zwigoff perfectly captures the ennui of transitioning from adolescent to adult. Enid, especially, isn't always likable (especially after seducing Seymour), but she and Becky are always believable as cooler-than-thou 18-year-olds who march to the beat of their own drums, completely uninterested in being like their "phony" peers.
Birch is a revelation as a girl-woman who thinks she's ready for an adult relationship but lacks the maturity to handle one. Buscemi is touching as a tragic "dork" loner who finds a kindred spirit in Enid, even though their intimacy is short-lived. Their performances make Zwigoff's adaptation of Daniel Clowes' popular graphic novel a must-see in the genre of offbeat coming-of-age stories.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about coming-of-age movies about high-school graduates. What common themes are present in most of these adolescent films?
Parents and kids can also discuss Enid's friendship with Seymour. How is their inter-generational relationship portrayed?
How do Enid and Becky affect and influence each other? Which one of them do you relate to more? Why?
Adaptations of graphic novels have become quite popular. What are the best examples of the genre?
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