Old Enough (1984)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5

USA, 1984. . Screenplay by Marisa Silver. Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Lonnie () is approaching her teens and lives in a fancy Manhattan brownstone with her parents and younger sister ( in her film debut). It’s summer and she goes to day camp, but on her way to the corner where her shuttle waits for her, she is distracted by a group of rougher kids from the around the corner who catch her eye, including sexy teenager Johnny () and his cool sister Karen (). She and Karen become friends and Lonnie becomes fascinated with her and her family, visiting her run-down building where her abusive father () works as superintendent. Lonnie starts skipping camp, phoning in dishonest sick days, as she and Karen spend their days shoplifting from stores and observing the hot new hairdresser who just moved in upstairs, all the while Lonnie is also approaching a coming of age with her attraction to Johnny. Where things go is familiar to anyone who has seen any film about maturity, Lonnie has a harsh realization that pushes her to grow up a little bit more, but the generosity of spirit with which Marisa Silver creates these rich and amiable characters makes sure that this one always feels special, truly capturing with brutal honesty the perspective of her main character’s cluelessness about life and friendship. Set in a tumultuous time that saw wealthy suburbanites make their way back into the downtown core and build luxury homes amid the less privileged (the results of which would be obvious by the end of the century), the film sees, whether intentionally or not, the innocence of a time for both the city and the protagonists as they navigate their crowded urbanity to find themselves. A deeply enjoyable film.

Toronto International Film Festival: 1984

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