All Over Me [1997]

This gritty 1997 film marks the merging of several budding talents: sisters Sylvia and Alex Sichel, who serve as writer and director, and actors Alison Folland (To Die For), Tara Subkoff, and Murmurs singer Leisha Hailey. The idea behind the movie was the Sichels' awe at ever having survived being teenage girls in the big city. All Over Me is about Claude (Folland) a shy, overweight teen who works in a pizza parlor after school and is secretly in love with her best friend Ellen (Subkoff). But Ellen is far ahead of Claude in development. She has an older boyfriend, and she harbors a bad case of destructive self-loathing that erupts frequently and with a fury. But All Over Me isn't just a teenage cautionary or coming-out tale. It's as much a story of New York and its unbearably long, hot summers as it is the downtown music scene or teenage dreams and struggles with adult issues. More than that, it's a well-made film that has its own rhythm, working slowly to give us insight into the girls' natures. It succeeds admirably in taking us back to that age when everything seemed possible despite the dangers of the city closing in. Growing up has never felt as close to home or as scarily realistic. --Paula Nechak

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