All Over Me

Director: Alex Sichel
Screenwriters: Sylvia Sichel

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Blasting onto the screen with the white-hot energy of a new generation, All Over Me performs a bravura rewrite of the coming-of-age movie. Inspired by the intensity for girls of adolescent friendship, first-time director Alex Sichel fills her film with urban rhythms and the earnest spunk of Riot Grrrl culture.

Alison Folland (To Die For) plays Claude, a morose teenager trapped between two women: her single mother, with whom she shares a cramped apartment, and her best friend Ellen, with whom she once shared the dream of starting a rock band. But that was before Ellen got hooked on a bad-news boyfriend. And definitely before Luke (Pat Briggs) moved into her Hell’s Kitchen building. A gay rocker who showers attention on Claude like a balm, Luke pushes her to play her music. And then he’s gone.

So much plot, so little time. All Over Me never slows down. It’s summer in the city, and nothing stands still for long. First there’s a murder, then there’s a murder mystery. Claude gets lucky: She falls for pink-haired Lucy (Leisha Hailey of the Murmurs) and turns detective.

In the end, All Over Me is the story of growing up without compromise in a world you didn’t make. Screenwriter Sylvia Sichel has taken the yearning, confusion, and pain of the best rock ’n’ roll songs and spun that mood into a drama that the eternal teenager in each of us can recognize with a glance. Claude and Lucy have none of the uncanny wisdom afforded big-budget movie heroines; they are clumsy and tender, and they stumble their way to happiness with all the realness that adolescence demands.

In this astonishing debut, young director Alex Sichel shows herself to be a masterful director of actors: Alison Folland’s performance as Claude is a career-making revelation. Thanks to the Sichel sisters, this is one film about being fifteen that acts its age.

— B. Ruby Rich

Screening Details

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