Fortunately, as an unpretentious, racy teen rite of passage, "Mary
Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore" is well worth the wait. Gutsy, 25-year-old
San Francisco director Jacobson begins where most others leave off, giving
the real lowdown on sexual initiation. With its hands-on, intimate viewpoint,
this movie is the perfect antidote to Larry Clark's "Kids" (1996).
An honors high school senior from the suburbs, Mary Jane (appealingly played
by Lisa Gerstein from My Life's in Turnaround) works part-time at the slightly
sleazy Victoria Theatre in a small mid-western town. It's the kind of theatre
that shows cult films like "Nightmares of Ecstasy".
Film opens with a high-angle shot of her partner's backside as Mary Jane
is being unceremoniously deflowered on a first date--in a cemetery. Thoroughly
alienated by the experience, unlike the virgins in "Kids", Mary
Jane, being smart, empowers herself with knowledge. Mostly set during non-school
hours, in the theatre and at late night parties, the rest of the film basically
chronicles her voyage of discovery--of sex as ecstasy rather than agony
and how to take charge by knowing what you want.
Mary Jane learns from her motley crew of older co-workers and both genders
are for the most part sympathetically drawn. There's Dave, the caring gay
theater manager; Matt, the streetsmart drunken wiseguy; Tom, good-looking,
sensitive slacker; Ericka. sexually savvy punk rocker who, in a particularly
humorous scene, sets Mary-Jane firmly on the road to pleasure. The story
develops very organically with not much in the way of plot contrivances
(except towards the end when they are not really needed), and all performances
have a natural improvisational feel. Dialogue as street talk is never stilted.
More a cinema verite portrait of a milieu than a drama with a fully developed
story line, film works on its own terms through its raw energy and intelligent
point of view.
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