Ghost World, over any other film I have seen, represents both the positive and negative aspects of feeling no affinity with those around you. Both the elation Enid and Rebecca share at the beginning of the film at being apart from all the "obnoxious, extroverted pseudo-bohemian art-school losers" around them, and later the depression when Enid realises the harsh realities of being an outsider, are so beautifully realised that it's clear Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff understand what it is to be an individual.
Enid wants to be different, but longs for someone who feels the same as her. Even her hero Seymour, who chooses a life of solitude, still wants to be with someone. They both feel alienated by their societies and feel the need to escape; on seeing Seymour's private room Enid exclaims "I would kill to have this stuff!!", to which Seymour simply replies "So why don't you kill me?"
And yet they cannot detach themselves from the world they inhabit and despise, despite that they cannot understand it - and it cannot begin to understand them. Maybe this is the message of the film, that to truly survive as an outsider in our pre-packaged, consumer led and so frequently vacant world is not possible without either compromising or leaving it behind. Like the old man waiting patiently for the bus that never comes, Enid and Seymour wait in vain for a means of escape. In limbo. Ghost World.
Having said all this, I can't help feeling that to dissect the film like this is to do it a disservice. The message of this film is subtle, and is woven gently into every frame. I loved it. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I left the cinema. Please go and see it, I promise it will make your life better.
Ghost World is now out on DVD in the States, in widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is, though, hope for us oft-forgotten islanders: the UK DVD is slated for release (Amazon.co.uk) on 20th May 2002. Better late than never! Ghost World was also nominated for an Oscar in the category for Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published). It criminally lost out to A Beautiful Mind.