Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

All over Me

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

All over Me

Article excerpt

"I could never hate you. I'm your dog." Only a best friend could say this after you've thrown up on her floor in a drunken stupor. Which is exactly how Claude (To Die For's Alison Folland) responds when Ellen (Tara Subkoff) tosses her cookies in All Over Me, Alex Sichel's sexy debut film about two 15-year-old gal pals. Claude and Ellen grew up together, go to the same school, speak a language entirely their own, and spend much of their free time together. The problem is, one of them is in love. As hormones creep over their adolescent horizon, their once-shared private world begins to divide.

As queer tradition often dictates, Claude has fallen for her best friend. But Ellen is fawning over Mark (Cole Hauser), a bullying, homophobic street tough. Among Mark's targets of hate are Luke (Pat Briggs of the band Psychotica), a flippantly self-assured gay punk, and Jesse (Wilson Cruz), a gay teen who, like Claude, doesn't have things figured out yet. All this tension makes for serious trouble in the neighborhood.

In the film's most compelling story line, trouble of the romantic kind arrives in the person of Lucy (Leisha Hailey), an effervescent openly lesbian rocker whom Claude meets in a club. Perfectly comfortable in ways that Claude is not, Lucy shows her that, well, girls need to be girls.

Labeled a coming-of-age tale, All Over Me is more a story about how the differences between seemingly similar people force difficult choices. Ellen and Claude are bound together as friends but separated by Claude's budding lesbian sexuality. Claude and Jesse share teenage tribulations but aren't able to help each other with their strange new feelings. And there's no love lost between Luke and Mark. When a murder jolts the neighborhood, the confusion only multiplies.

Despite some pacing problems, Sichel draws first-rate performances from her cast. Credit must also go to screenwriter Sylvia Sichel, Alex's sister, for creating such interesting characters. Hauser is frighteningly powerful as Mark, the kind of rarely portrayed indignant white male who defies stereotype. Claude is a muddle of confusion and hope; Folland gives her a nuanced wholeness not usually seen in this kind of character. …

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