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September 28, 2013

Weekend Reviews: Aesthetics, plot of '80s film appealing


I think because of this, I found Madonna’s character, Susan, to be especially attractive. Her clothing in the film was grungy and sexy; a look I had never really seen before, and I was fascinated. I remember one scene in particular, where she goes into Roberta’s house, uninvited, and Roberta’s husband discovers her draped across a poolside lounge chair drinking red wine and wearing nothing but a black lace bra, men’s pinstriped boxer shorts, and aviator-style Ray-Bans.

Another aspect of the film that I found especially intriguing was how each scene moved from place to place within New York, and in doing so, perfectly captured the messy, mysterious aspects of city life. To me, that’s probably the No. 1 reason why this film is so distinct: its interesting and unusual settings. Locations such as one of the character’s apartments — a sparse, studio-flat with gray, rain-streaked windows, potted ferns, fluorescent lighting, and an entire wall devoted to a massive Japanese Samurai photograph — and the “Magic Club,” a metal-walled, 1950s-style nightclub featuring swanky cigarette girls, plush red carpets, and a blue, glowing rabbit that jumps out of a hat on the neon sign out front — epitomize the film’s quirky, artistic aesthetic and highlight the director’s attention to detail.

In a lot of ways, “Desperately Seeking Susan” has something for anyone and everyone. Its balance between quiet, sentimental scenes and action-packed pursuits allows for a broader variety of viewers. Last summer, my family and I rented the film on VHS while staying in a tiny Twin Peaks-esque town near Crater Lake in Oregon. Despite the movie’s reputation as being more of a “chick flick” (described by the director, Susan Seidelman, as having a “girls just want to have fun” sort of feel), my dad and older brother both admitted to enjoying it quite a bit.

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