Magazine article Artforum International

All over Me

Magazine article Artforum International

All over Me

Article excerpt

Claude (Alison Folland) keeps a fun house-style mirror in the kitchen of the apartment she shares with her mom, the kind of mirror that makes even an average-sized human look like a stumpy whale. When Claude, a henna-haired fifteen-year-old who dresses in what can only be called husky sizes, and her blonde waif of a best friend, Ellen (Tara Subkoff), pass the mirror one afternoon, they fall into a mock-sex routine: Claude, in baggy shorts and tee, playing the butch dude, Ellen his/her femmy conquest. The girls start humping away, grunting and giggling at their warped images. Reflected behind them on the fridge door is a collage of model-perfect bodies, Claude's warning to herself against bing-ing. Later Ellen heads off to see Mark (Cole Hauser), her brutish boyfriend. Claude, who wants nothing more than for Ellen to be her lover (a possibility Ellen teases her with when she demonstrates what she and Mark "do"), stands alone in front of the mirror, watching her distorted self as she stuffs spoonfuls of "Ben & Jerry's" into her ripe mouth.

These moments from All Over Me - even the cliched, lonely-girl-pigs-out bit - possess edges heretofore unseen in the movies, edges that cut to the heart of female teendom and libidinal confusion. Thanks for such insight are due to the self-described "Sichel Sisters," who collaborated on the film (Alex Sichel directed, younger sibling Sylvia wrote the screenplay), but also to Folland's brutally clear performance as Claude. Already compelling in the somewhat similar part of a chunky, lesbian-leaning pubescent in To Die For, Folland here fills up the screen with the propulsive twitches and ambivalences of adolescence. She's a clumsier, less conventionally cute Claire Danes (her scenes with My So-Called Life's Hispanic gayboy Wilson Cruz only beg the comparison), or better yet, a girly River Phoenix. So awkward, so bruised, so true. …

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