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The Film List Project #5: Ghost World

I always love looking through my list and coming across a movie I've always wanted to see. Ghost World was one of those movies.

I've been reading about this movie since I was 16 and started reading Rookie. Most people seem to enjoy the movie, a cult classic, for the protagonists' eccentric behavior, cynical attitudes, and Doc Martens. I loved the movie, but for an entirely different reason.

The film chronicles the transition from high school to the real world for Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson). The girls plan on moving in together "somewhere downtown", but Enid refuses to get a job and starts hanging around with Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a record collector and shut in instead.

Enid starts ignoring Rebecca to admire Seymour's life, developing an obsession with getting him a date. It's clear the two see a bit of themselves in each other. When Enid calls Seymour lucky for having a room full of records and antique oddities, Seymour stresses that collecting things isn't a life in a desperate attempt to save Enid from herself.

In the meantime, Rebecca gets a job and starts looking for an apartment, maturing before Enid's very eyes. Rebecca's transformation is Enid's worst nightmare.

Enid has to face reality just like we all have to at some point. A lot of us go to college, prolonging real life, but at some point, we have to worry about getting a job, finding a place to live, buying our own furniture, and other stuff we saw our parents do during our childhood.

The transformation is scary, and the movie captures that really well. Very few people can rely on others to get a job for them and pick up their slack, a cruel fact we all have to face at some point. Some people jump right into it, like Rebecca, while others are like Enid, willing to wait forever until something better comes around and refusing to mature.

In the last scene of the film, we see Enid get on a bus. Neither she nor the audience knows where the bus is going, just like we can't predict where our life is going to go. Enid still gets on the bus, though, finally accepting that her life has to start.

This is the kind of movie I think everyone should see at the end of high school. I don't think we realize how cushioned we are. High school is definitely not the most fun place to go every weekday, but it's something we can rely on. For four years (or more), your entire life centers around the activity of this place. It's your only real responsibility.

The movie is one of the best representations of going from that one responsibility to the many that real life holds. It depicts life the way it is: funny, odd,  ever-changing, and, at points, scary.

Thanks for getting on the bus with me this week.

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