About The Story
After garnering worldwide attention, numerous award nominations, and wide
critical praise for her role as Kevin Spacey's discontented daughter, Jane, in
the Academy AwardÂ®-winning film American Beauty, Thora Birch stars as
Enid, an equally complex teenager searching for her place in the world. Birch
describes Enid as an extrovert who is, nonetheless, not very happy. "I
think she doesn't really know what she wants in life," says the young
actress. "She just graduates from high school and knows all the things that
she really doesn't like and who she doesn't want to be. The only problem is that
she has no clue about what she does want to do and who she is, really. I think
that's one of the reasons she is constantly changing her appearance and trying
different motifs and even testing out, in a subtle way, different
Director Terry Zwigoff says, "Enid is an outsider. She doesn't quite
fit in. That's part of her dilemma. She's trying to find some place for herself
in a world that's rapidly turning into one big consumer theme park, a
monoculture without much of anything authentic remaining. She's trying to
connect with something truthful in this culture that's basically designed to
just sell you things."
The film opens with a musical bang that demonstrates Enid's less-than-mainstream
tastes as scenes from an old Indian musical play on her television, with Enid
dancing gleefully along. The scene is actually the opening dance number from Gumnaam
("Nameless"), 1965, directed by Raja Nawathe for Producer N. N. Sippy
and Prithvi Pictures. Although the name on the drum kit of the band reads
"Ted Lyons and the Cubs," the masked actor is lip-syncing the tune
"Jaan Pehechaan Ho," which is actually recorded by Mohammed Rafi.
Enid's best friend is the slightly more well-adjusted Rebecca, played by
Scarlett Johansson, who broke out in a big way opposite Robert Redford and
Kristin Scott Thomas in The Horse Whisperer. "Rebecca is this really
smart girl who is sort of different," notes Johansson. "That's why she
befriends Enid, who is really outrageous and loud. Even though they're best
friends, in a way they're total opposites. Rebecca and Enid are always finding
some interesting person to follow and exploit and embarrass, just for their own
pleasure. But Rebecca is eager to get an apartment and get on with her
In their post-high school meanderings, Enid and Rebecca find themselves drifting
apart. "Enid really screws with her relationships," comments Birch.
"She is constantly testing the people that are closest to her, especially
Rebecca. They constantly feel each other out for weak spots, and yet they get
along and are so comfortable with each other. Enid doesn't really know what she
wants from her relationships."
"This is not a typical teen film," adds Johansson with a hint of a
smile. Adds Zwigoff, "I wasn't interested in making just another one of
these Hollywood teen comedies, which are basically bad sitcoms with high
production values. But I certainly didn't want to make some pretentious,
self-indulgent art film either. I wanted to make a film that was entertaining as
well as thought-provoking."
By calling the number of an especially pathetic personal ad, Enid and Rebecca
cross paths with Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a lonely collector of rare 78 rpm
blues and jazz records. "They decide to play a joke on this guy who has put
in an ad trying to look for this woman in a yellow dress that he met in an
airport," says Buscemi, who has played signature roles in films as diverse
as Armageddon and Pulp Fiction. "So they call him and pretend
they're the woman in the yellow dress. He goes to this diner looking for his
dream girl and she's not there. Later on i
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