When you really think about it, Ghost World is the proto-typical Diablo Cody movie. It's very quirky, it has an instant cult following and it is about two quirky hyperarticulate teenage girls. It features two semi-stars as the leads and Scarlett Johansson back when nobody knew who she was. Ghost World is definitely not a movie for everyone though. If you want to see people get together at the end or if you want to see a happy ending, then this is not the movie for you. It doesn't really have a happy or sad ending, I guess it's just an ending.
Ghost World is about the summer after ultra-hip best friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Becky (Scarlett Johansson) graduate from high school. They have a plan to move in together and continue their best-friendship. All that goes off without a hitch until they prank-call Seymour (Buscemi) when he places an ad in the personals. Enid continues to see Seymour (not exactly romantically) and alienates herself from Becky. Becky finds friends from work and her friendship with Enid seems to alienate further. Enid bonds with Seymour due to their mutual tastes and their alienation from the rest of humanity. That's pretty much the main plot, there's also some stuff about Enid taking a remedial art class and Seymour dating Dana, who's boring tastes eventually become unbearable for him.
I have not read the Ghost World comics, but I like the story of this, seeing as it is entirely quirky and creative. Let's not forget that it's highly original as well and should be revered as an incredibly brilliant film. The soundtrack is incredibly awesome as well and chock-full of thoughtful indie music. I hope they never remake this movie, because I know that Hollywood would ruin it, even though there are loads of capable actors who could handle it.
None of the characters are likeable per se, in fact, there are some moments where I want to punch all of them. However, I don't think you're really supposed to find any of them likeable. I can sympathize with Enid a bit, seeing as I understand that she just needs someone to look up to and she finds that in Seymour. She seeks the approval of Seymour because her own father is so disinterested. I think she alienates people because she is actually reaching out for someone to be nice to her. That being said, she isn't exactly a nice kid either. She is incredibly selfish and pushes people away when she shouldn't be. Anyway, this isn't a character study, so I'll move on.
For all the serious undertones in the movie, it is incredibly funny. I consider the humour part Coen Brothers and part Diablo Cody because the jokes are all fairly tongue-in-cheek and boy do you have to pay attention to get all of them. Another Diablo Cody similarity is that I think Juno has her roots in Enid, only a little bit less selfish. Needless to say, I found myself laughing in some parts and on the verge of tears in some parts.
The jokes are funny, but the movie would not have been as good had it not been for the performances of Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi, and Scarlett Johansson in the three lead roles. I never really had any opinion towards any of them before this movie, and now I think that the three of them are wonderful actors and it truly is a shame that Thora Birch doesn't really have a career now when she is such a good actress.
If you haven't seen Ghost World, I strongly recommend that you drive to your nearest movie rental establishment and rent it now. Again, this is not a movie for everyone, but those who like Diablo Cody and the Coen brothers will like this movie. It's witty, well-acted and has a creative original story. It's too bad that this only has a cult following because it is worthy of mass popularity. Needless to say, Ghost World is a wonderful movie that I would recommend to anyone except those who like to see predictable happy endings.