Friends Movies Popular culture

Growing up/apart in Ghost World

In the cult favorite Ghost World (2001), best friends and recent high school graduates (well, kind of) Enid and Rebecca, go from an intimate friendship to practical strangers. As they grow into their own, they realize that their friendship is fading. Rebecca continues to work towards their original dream of living in an apartment together, but Enid comes to the realization that she doesn’t know what she wants. This comes to a head when she spirals and ends up drunkenly sleeping with Seymour, a much older man that she grows close to after setting up a fake blind date for him towards the beginning of the movie.

At its core, this movie is about Enid, a girl who does not know what she wants, and clings to a best friend that doesn’t challenge her to think about what she wants to do, or where she wants her life to go. On their graduation day, Enid discovers that she has to take a summer art class in order to get her real diploma.

Over the course of the class, Enid becomes interested in pursuing art, and when she finds out her teacher has submitted her name for an arts institution scholarship, she doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t tell Rebecca, perhaps out of fear of being humiliated by the one person she humiliates others with. Instead, Enid takes the route of escapism until it’s no longer a choice, and she loses the opportunity after missing an art show and having her passing grade from the class revoked by the school.

We see Enid at her lowest, feeling the utter loneliness of regret. After getting drunk with Seymour and sleeping with him, she meets up with Rebecca and apologizes, begging to move in with her. Maybe it’s only to get out of what she said to Seymour about going away and starting over, but Rebecca senses Enid’s in need, and agrees. Shortly after, Enid disappears, leaving both Seymour and Rebecca clueless. She only returns when Seymour is in the hospital after trying to attack Enid’s crush, Josh, at the corner store where he works.

We learn while Enid visits Seymour that Rebecca has forgiven her, but they are no longer going to live together. Outside the hospital, there is a quick, final intimate moment between Enid and Rebecca, holding hands before Rebecca leaves for work. There is a sense of understanding in this moment, though not much is said. While Enid and Rebecca might not be as close anymore, there is something there. They will always be friends, just in a different way.

The most important factor of this slice-of-life movie is that it is okay for friendships to grow up as you grow into your own. Throughout just one summer, Enid and Rebecca begin to become their own people, and they don’t fit as well together anymore. They try to ignore it at first, but they only become closer once more when they accept the fate of their friendship.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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