Film Scouts Reviews

"All Over Me"

by Liza Bear

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A film by two sisters about two 15-year-old friends who live almost like sisters in Hell's Kitchen, New York, "All Over Me" joins the swelling ranks of so-called coming-of-age films, one of this festival's emerging themes.

Although a first outing for the Sichels, movie was reputedly made for about $1 million, at least ten times the budget of many films in the festival. But that's another story.

A good-natured, overweight, put-upon redhead, Claude (Allison Folland) is trying to find her place in the sun. Because of her mom's (Ann Dowd) nightly goings-on with men, Claude is harshly excluded from her own home and seeks solace at her friend Ellen's (Tara Subkoff) house. Though no blonde bombshell, Ellen is your shrimp of a punk girl in mascara, minis and platforms rather than a slob.

Claude frequently sleeps over at her friend's. Physical proximity to Ellen clearly means more to Claude, who initially doesn't have a beau, than to Ellen, who does. When Ellen and Mark (Cole Hauser) get serious, Claude is doubly rejected - by mom and best friend.

Folland navigates Claude's many emotional transitions fluidly and with conviction. Performances of the rest of the cast, including Ellen, are less successful. With an actress of equal strength to Holland playing Ellen, film might have been more fully satisfying as the character-driven story that it sets out to be. The murder of a new neighbor, with whom Claude seems to be developing a friendship leads to plot complications which narrative and dialogue are not able to handle. The overuse of chiaroscuro lighting, giving Ellen a perpetual golden halo which she certainly doesn't deserve, also detract from the film's aesthetic cohesion.

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