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Susan Seidelman's promising first feature, Smithereens, is a neo-realist punk indie character study set in a New York of vibrant colors, interesting music, and grungy dilapidation. No romance here, except maybe what's in Wren's head. She says (or acts like) she wants to join a band, wants to leave New York, wants to fall in love, wants to be a fashion icon... But she wants to live the dream, not earn it. So she's a liar, and a profiteer, a bum who burns every couch behind her. It's the punk attitude with real consequences (suggesting, without every mentioning it, that you need to be well off to actually say F*** the world) and her nihilism spins her into friendlessness, and poverty, and hopelessness. It's a story about how someone ends up on the streets, with the very real notion that it was, in some way, her choice. Susan Berman is a kind of inner city Molly Ringwald as Wren, a spoiled brat without the suburban princess trappings. The ending is elliptical, but we can well imagine where it's all heading, and it's nowhere good. Still a relevant picture, even in our post-punk, post-grunge, post-wherever we are now world.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #81 in BFI's 100 American Independent Films
This movie ranks #1136 in The Criterion Collection