As much as many of us hate to admit it we were all teenagers at one point in our lifetime. The teen years are all about laying a foundation for the rest of your life and discovering who you are as a person. Chances are that maybe when you were a teen you had a friend that fell in with the wrong crowd or maybe you had to go through your separated parents dating again. The spirit of that has been captured perfectly in All Over Me and it's a movie about experimentation, uncertainty and life as a teenager in the inner city.
While I personally never went through the things the characters in this movie go through, it's one of those taboo things that are rarely talked about. Teenage sexuality and drug abuse are the stuff after school specials are made out of, but All Over Me tells a tale that is very believable and realistically told.
Part of the convincing nature of the film comes from the young talent that plays the troubled teens. Several of the actors in this film went on to do bigger and better projects and All Over Me served as a good springboard for their careers. The true star of the film is Alison Folland who plays the main character Claude. She really brings the awkwardness of being a confused teenager to the screen in a big way and you'll instantly think to yourself, "Hey, I knew someone like that back in school!" The rest of the cast performs equally well and even though many of the actors are smaller names that never really did any more films, there are some notable names like Cole Hauser and Vincent Pastore.
The story focuses on a seemingly normal Tomboy of a teenager named Claude (Folland) who lives with her single mother in New York. She's full of teenage angst and walks around with a chip on her shoulder. Claude doesn't dream about the guys on 90210 though, instead she yearns for her best friend Ellen (Tara Subkoff). Yes, she is exploring her sexuality but unfortunately it seems Ellen is only a playful heterosexual.
Ellen eventually hooks up with a guy named Mark (Cole Hauser) who is trouble from the start and creates a rift between the two friends. Claude can see that Ellen is hanging with the wrong crowd and she eventually starts to do some hardcore drugs, but no matter what she does she can't seem to get through to her. Covered head to toe in jealousy and hatred for Mark she eventually looks elsewhere for a friend and meets a girl from a band. A strong message of equality and understand is at work here and the film gives a good representation about the consequences of your choices.
Alright, so All Over Me is basically an after school special with some teenage lesbians kissing and a heavy dose of drug use. The focus is very good for the movie and much of the acting makes it believable, but there are times when the movie just drags. The film never really picks up and there is never a major climax. Instead we watch a slow wedge coming between Ellen and Claude and you just sit there and watch it happen. It's pretty depressing stuff and there isn't really any humor to be found anywhere, so be prepared to feel like a pissy teenager again.
In the end All Over Me is a worthwhile watch, especially if you were a teenager in the 90s or grew up in a bad neighborhood of a city. The characters of the teens are pretty realistic and the story will get to you, but the pacing of the film makes it feel a little heavy handed towards the end.
All Over Me is presented with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and unfortunately the production date of the film is showing its age. The image here is a noticeable amount of grain, edge enhancement and pixilation so the movie hasn't held up too well since 1997. In some of the lighter areas there are some specks that are easily identifiable but for the most part the movie is darker with a great use of mood lighting and contrast. The video fades from soft to sharp at times, but it's hard to tell if it was a technique during the film or if it's a product of the transfer.
All Over Me comes with two English tracks to choose from and there are no subtitles available, in case you like to use those. The 5.1 Dolby Digital is the obvious choice here but there is a 2.0 supplied in case you'd prefer that. The surround offers a decent use of channel mix although most things come from the front. I didn't really notice any problems with the quality although the music can sometimes drown everything out because it can be too loud at times. Overall it's acceptable, but nothing to write home about in the audio department.
You want extras do you? Well, how about a theatrical trailer? Yup, that's all you're going to get with this release. This is just about as barebones as it gets folks.
Having been a teenager in the 90s I appreciated a lot of what happened in All Over Me. I was never directly affected by anything like what happens in this film, but I knew people who were. The movie takes a hard look at life as a teen and offers up a decent cast that support the story very well. Considering this is the first DVD release of the film one would hope that it would have gotten some better treatment, but unfortunately that's not the case. The video and audio leave a lot to be desired and there are absolutely no extras in sight.
Overall I'm going to give this one the rental suggestion since the movie is worth watching, but the DVD received some pretty lackluster production. Rent it<
Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!