There is nothing really flashy about “All Over Me,” and that’s a good thing. It’s just the story of a teenage girl, Claude (Alison Folland), growing up in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen and trying to navigate the big city and her bigger emotions for her best friend, Ellen (Tara Subkoff). I haven’t seen it in years (note to self: order the DVD immediately), but I can still remember how real it felt the first time I watched it. Everything about it – the grit, the hunger, the devotion, the confusion – it was all so honest. And so raw. Most movies about teenagers today delight in making them precocious one-liner machines. They’re too cool for whatever school they’re stuck in, and we know it. But “All Over Me” wasn’t interested in the normal trappings of Hollywood a coming-of-age stories, or being cool. It was just interested in being real.
One scene in particular sticks with me, all these years later. When Claude is helping Ellen in the restaurant bathroom and she says to her, “Everyone knows I’m your dog.” My God, haven’t we all been there. For young women, gay and straight, the female friendships we have as teenagers are some of the most intense and most complicated of our lives. It’s a fascinating dynamic that rarely gets touched on in most movies beyond the sassy best friend character. But what fertile cinematic ground awaits for those who dig a little deeper.
I’d always hoped for more great things from the filmmakers, sisters Alex and Sylvia Sichel, would go on to do many more great things. The last major credit for them on IMDB is the Chloe Sevigny and Michelle Williams “1972” segment in “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” That, by the way, was my favorite segment from that film, one that again showcased the sisters skill at subtle, yet powerful realism. Also, damn, it was hot.
And so were scenes in “All Over Me.” Why hello, adorable young, pink-haired Leisha Hailey. Hello very much.
All that and it also stars
Rickie Vasquez Wilson Cruz. Yep, definitely buying this DVD. Definitely.