Drama movie directed by Gus Van Sant
ALL OVER ME is an intense, naturalistic portrait of a changing friendship between two teenage girls, set in New York's gritty Hell's Kitchen. The symbiotic, loving relationship between riot-grrrl teens Ellen and Claude degrades after Ellen begins dating … see full wiki
For the record All Over Me (1997) is not my usual taste in movies. I dont know what compelled me to record and watch this low budget film about two teenage girls growing up all-too-soon in inner city America. Perhaps its because I adore Leisha Hailey (she actually is a lesbian in reality and just doesnt play one on TV).
In researching this movie I found out that it was made with a grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, a non-profit organization named in honor of Princess Grace of Monaco. The mission of the Princess Grace Foundation is to help young artist realize their dreams. All Over me was funded so that it could explore the riot grrrl music scene - described in the film's press and promotional materials as a fusion of "the do-it-yourself ethic of punk rock with in-your-face feminism."
Directed and written by sisters Alex and Sylvia Sichel, All Over Me chronicles a few weeks in the life of a shy, awkwardly pretty, semi-tomboyish 15-year-old girl named Claude portrayed by Alison Folland (To Die For, Good Will Hunting, She Hate Me). Claude lives with her mother (a totally forgettable character) in a small apartment in New York Citys Hell's Kitchen. The movie also follows Claudes best friend Ellen portrayed by Tara Subkoff (Kindred: The Embrace, The Last Days Of Disco, The Cell), a lithe blonde drug addict, who as it turns out, Claude is in love with. As we progress through the film Claude comes to the realization that she is attracted to other girls and Ellen is not, though Ellen semi-indulges Claude growing feeling for hermore on that later.
In many respect Claude is your typical 15-year-old teenager; she is the only child of a desperately lonely single mother who drinks a wee bit too much and neglects her daughter in search of her own happiness; she struggles with her weight; takes care of herself for the most part; and is in deep angst about her emerging attraction to other girls. Ellen on the other hand appears to have been totally cast off by her parents, dresses like a slut and has taken up with an unsavory young name named Mark portrayed by Cole Hauser (Dazed and Confused, Good Will Hunting, White Oleander), who both enables and discourages her drug and alcohol usage.
While Claude tries to cope with the fact that she's falling in love with Ellen, the latter uses Claude to provide her with reassurance, safety, and even a roof over her head. She sees that Claude is falling for her but doesnt dissuade her until the end of the movie, even going so far as to make out with Claude in a (sinister) bid to keep in her good graces.
In the midst of this Luke portrayed by new-comer Pat Briggs, moves into Claudes apartment building. Luke is a struggling gay musician, and he and Claude become fast friends. Luke also makes friends with Jesse portrayed by Wilson Cruz, (Party of Five, Party Monster), who is also gay and works with Claude at the local pizza parlor. Luke represents for both a adult male figure they both can look up to. But he all too soon becomes the victim of Marks overly macho persona that only serves to cover up him insecurity.
After the demise of Luke, which is not shown on film, Claude tries to find solace in Ellen, but Ellen is too lost in her own world filled with Mark and drugs; there is little room for Claude and her love and sorrow. Her mother too is lost to her, too pre-occupied with landing her latest man to notice her daughters deepening pain. In search of companionship, of love and acceptance, Claude decides to visit a local lesbian bar and therein meets Lucy portrayed by Leisha Hailey (Some Girls, Sleeping Beauties, The L Word), a sweet, adorable, pink-haired, guitar playing lesbian who instantly falls for Claude.
All Over Me despite the low budget feel is a poignant, well acted, well directed and written movie that was perhaps too short. As good as the movie was at relating Claude and Ellens story there was not enough character development; e.g. Ellen was a total mystery. Yes she drank and did drugs, but why, what was her motivation? Where were her parents? They were mentioned once, but never seen. Were we to infer that they didnt care about the blonde waif? Was Ellens father missing in action and that is the reason she sought solace in the arms of Mark? And what was Marks story? We never find out, we can only guess, and guessing is not as fulfilling as knowing for sure, and certainly not as entertaining.
And more exploration of Claudesshort of Claudiacharacter should have been undertaken; e.g. where was her father, what were her thoughts and feeling vis-à-vis her sexuality; how long had she harbored these feelings, etc.
For the most part Alison Folland did a good job portraying Claude, and Tara Subkoff was at time riveting in her role as the suffering drug addicted friend. Leisha Hailey spent far too little time on screen for my likingdid I mention that I adore her?
The soundtrack to this movie does not interest me at all; I am not into the grudge dipped, acid inspired music (noise) the so-called riot grrrl genre embodies. But since the movie was made to spotlight the genre, listed below are the tracks from the soundtrack:
1. Hello - Babes In Toyland
2. Ellen And Claude Jammin - Composed By Miki Navazio
3. Shy - Ani Difranco
4. Hole In The Ground - Helium
5. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Sleater-Kinney
6. Game Song - Tuscadero
7. Jackie Blue - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
8. Claude Sees Ellen And Mark - Composed By Miki Navazio
9. Squeezebox Days - The Murmurs
10. Dragon Lady - The Geraldine Fibbers
11. Dynamite - Alison Pipitone
12. Empty Glasses - The Amps
13. Descent - Remy Zero
14. 6 a.m. Jullander Shere - Cornershop
15. The Kiss - Composed By Miki Navazio
16. Dimming Soul - Michelle Malone
17. P_ssing In A River - The Patti Smith Group
18. Superglider - Drugstore
19. Finale - Composed By Miki Navazio
20. Something's Burning - 12 Rounds
While All Over Me is not a film I would go out of my way to see, or rent for that matter, it is certainly entertainment worthy of a rainy weekend on cable. And of course Leisha Hailey, who came to my attention because of this wacky Yoplait yogurt commercialsmakes the movie all the more palatable.
Principle Actors: Alison Folland, Tara Subkoff, Cole Hauser, Leisha Hailey
Director: Alex Sichel
Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: All Regions
Number of Discs: (1)
Rating: R, graphic language, sexual situations.
Studio: Image Entertainment
DVD Release Date: June 14, 2005
Run Time: 90 Minutes
DVD Features: N/a
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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