The first time I saw “Desperately Seeking Susan,” I was 11. Sprawled across my best friend’s lap in my basement, still giddy from the obligatory sleepover sugar binge, I watched, mesmerized, as this wild and captivating film unfolded before me.
“Desperately Seeking Susan” follows the lives of two women, a housewife and a rebel, whose paths cross and lead them both on a journey of self-discovery. The movie begins and ends in the same idiosyncratic way: with the classified ads, New York City, circa 1985.
Susan (Madonna) is a promiscuous, law-breaking nomad, whose life lacks consistency — aside from her lover Jim (Robert Joy), a New York City local who repeatedly locates and reunites with Susan through the classified ads. Roberta Higgins (Rosanna Arquette), on the other hand, is a run-of-the-mill New Jersey housewife, stuck in a relationship where she is severely neglected. She finds solace in the classified ads, living vicariously through Susan and Jim’s spontaneity and romanticism.
As Roberta tracks the couple’s story, she becomes more and more entranced. She decides to arrange an anonymous meeting with Susan; but what she doesn’t realize is that Susan is involved in some shady, illegal business involving a mobster and a stolen Egyptian earring. Roberta suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a robbery, a love triangle, a marriage affair and an identity theft, all at the same time.
However, what appealed to me most about “Desperately Seeking Susan” wasn’t the bold, fast-paced story line or the outrageous plot twists, but rather the visual elements of the film. Growing up, I have always had an interest in aesthetics. Fashion in particular became a large part of my life at a young age. My mom tells me that when I turned 3, I began to insist on dressing myself every day. Items such as sparkly red laceup boots and velvet pantsuits became staples in my wardrobe.