Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


Fifteen-year-old best friends Claude (Alison Folland) and Ellen (Tara Subkoff) have lived within walking distance of each other's apartment buildings in New York’s Hell's Kitchen since kindergarten. With school just getting out for a long, sticky summer, the pair's established plan is to start a riot girl band together. Ellen has suddenly begun spending all her time with Mark (Cole Hauser), a thuggish new boyfriend who keeps her supplied with all the drugs, while Claude works in the local pizza parlour with gay friend Jesse (Wilson Cruz). When Luke (Pat Briggs), a musician friend who lives in the same building, is murdered, Claude’s life is turned upside-down: her relationship with Ellen begins to disintegrate and she meets Lucy (Leisha Hailey) at a girl punk rock club. All the while, Claude is finally beginning to realise that her affection for Ellen may well run a little deeper than the accepted norms of heterosexual friendship.

"All Over Me is cinema verité, exploring the self-image, self-doubts, friendships and sexuality of a teenage girl, living in a tough NY suburb against a music background. The Sichel sisters have created an acutely realistic look at teenagers today, with mono-syllabic ‘teen-talk’, no frills and every imperfection on display. The two lead performances are riveting: Alison Folland as the insecure, ugly duckling Claude, and Tara Subkoff, full of outward bravado while inwardly floundering. The scenes where Claude preens before the ‘fat’ mirror in front of the fridge, as she gorges herself on ice scream are haunting, as is Ellen’s dark-eyed little girl lost, set on the path of self-destruction of experimental drugs. Especially commendable are the nuances, the shades of grey that are part and parcel of relationships and so well canvassed here. The entire cast is engaging, and Leisha Hailey’s film debut as Lucy shines with a blatant kind of honestly. The complicated issue of sexuality is broached with ambiguity, allowing the viewer to understand the complexities and implications. While it may not be new to explore the world and sexuality of teenagers, this slice of life has its own poignancy. It may not appeal to everyone – but for those who enter this disturbing world, it is a rewarding experience."
Louise Keller

"Films about teenagers growing up and confronting their own sexuality are nothing new, whether that sexuality is heterosexual or homosexual. School girl angst, drug experimentation, loutish boyfriends, single mums and their lovers . . . You might get the feeling that it's all been done before and you'd be right. In what was a lacklustre year at this year's Sundance Film Festival, All Over Me, the first feature by director Alex Sichel, was another uninspiring effort, a film bogged down by a plot and characters that are underwhelming at best. This is a film so intensely depressing, so full of its own self importance, as if the film makers have forgotten that cinema is meant to be savoured by us all, not by a select few. While the central performances are fine, especially that of star-in the-making Tara Subkoff as the tragically disposed Ellen, and the film is well-meaning enough, it rambles on to its inconclusive conclusion when we've never really got to know these girls. It's a sad film, almost relentlessly so, a film about growing up where the growth seems to have been stagnating."
Paul Fischer

Email this article


Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0



CAST: Alison Folland, Tara Subkoff, Cole Hauaser, Wilson Cruz,l Ann Dowd, Leisha Hailey, Pat Briggs, Shawn Hatosy, Vincent Pastore

DIRECTOR: Alex Sichel

PRODUCER: Dolly Hall

SCRIPT: Sylvia Sichel


EDITOR: Sabine Hoffmann

MUSIC: Bill Coleman


RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes



AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: February 26, 1998; Melbourne: March 19, 1998


AWARDS: Winner, Teddy Bear for Best Feature Film - 47th Berlin International Film Festival 1997; Winner, Reader’s Prize of the Siegessaule, 47th Berlin International Film Festival 1997; Official Selection Sundance Film Festival, 1997



© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020