All Over Me Movie Review

The not-entirely-safe streets of New York Hell's Kitchen neighborhood are the setting for All Over Me, a slice of urban teen life that comes across as a bit melodramatic, but then again, what teenager doesn't believe his or her life is full of drama? Sisters Sylvia and Alex Sichel write and direct (respectively) with sensitivity. Working on a shoestring budget, they've created a scary and insular world from which escape will be tough.

Claude (Alison Folland) certainly has issues to contend with. The only child of a man-hungry and alcoholic mother, she's struggling with her weight, her schoolwork, her job at the local pizza parlor, and most notably, her emerging lesbianism. It doesn't help that her super-best friend Ellen (Tara Subkoff) is a bit of train wreck who likes to dabble in the drugs her loutish and violent drug-dealing boyfriend Mark (Cole Hauser) is stringing her out on. Claude tries to cope with the awful fact that she's falling in love with Ellen, while Ellen uses Claude to provide her with reassurance, safety, and even a roof over her head at times. It's what the self-help books call a destructively co-dependent relationship.

Things in Claude's run-down apartment building get more interesting when Luke (Pat Briggs), a waifish gay musician, shows up and makes friends with Claude and her pizza parlor co-worker Jesse (Wilson Cruz) who also happens to be gay and is in great need of an older and wiser advisor. Luke represents adulthood, glamour, the world beyond the 'hood. He immediately becomes Claude and Jesse's protector, but as it turns out, no one is safe from Mark's explosive anger.

After a tragic crime, everyone's role changes. Claude tries to pull away from Ellen, but Ellen holds on, even as Mark is pulling in the other direction. The stress is too much for Ellen, who gets deeper and deeper into drugs in order to cope. Claude summons up enough courage to go to a lesbian bar, where even though she hugs the wall with a terrified look on her face, it's clear that she instantly feels at home. Soon she's crushing on the cute pink-haired guitarist in the punk band playing on stage. Maybe there will be a happy ending for her after all.

Folland, who was so memorable as the naïve and sullen teen who's manipulated by Nicole Kidman in To Die For, is equally good here. Hiding behind her hair and her pudgy belly, she's a young woman of few words, but her intelligent eyes tell you a lot. Subkoff is strong, too, making the most of a part that has her in hysterics much of the time. She can be both seductive and sickening in the same scene.

All Over Me transcends its occasional operatic moments by providing plenty of soft-spoken reality. Its quiet moments are far more powerful than its loud ones. Just keep your eyes on Folland.

That's not Paris.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Comments

All Over Me Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 1997

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