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Gypsy 83
IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from R votes
Release: 6 June 2001 (USA) /

Gypsy 83

Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Two young misfits head for New York City to celebrate their idol and muse, Stevie Nicks, at The Night of 1,000 Stevies. Along the road, in order for them to escape their painful pasts, they must discover their strengths and learn self-acceptance. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Critic Reviews

Gypsy (Sara Rue) is a 20-something girl working a dead-end job in an Ohio suburb, where she lives with her clueless but loving father (John Doe, of seminal punk band X). Her best friend, Clive (Kett Turton), is a creative gothy teen in the process of coming-out. They share the bond of having lost their mothers as young children, having replaced them in their minds with everyone's favorite fabulous surrogate godmother: Stevie Nicks! When they find out about NYC's "Night of 1,000 Stevies" they decide to put their lives on hold, skip town, and road-trip it so Gypsy can compete in the karaoke contest and maybe meet her musician mother.

The trailer for this movie was lame, and I'll admit I only rented it because I'm a Stevie fan and I always wanted to check out Night of 1000 Stevies. As I watched the opening scene (which was used in the trailer), I was expecting a silly popcorn flick. It quickly became evident that this was not a typical "coming of age" movie. In fact, "Gypsy 83" ended up being the most original, heartfelt, and well-scripted coming-of-age movies since 1997's "All Over Me."

The characterization is nothing short of brilliant. This is one of those rare films that makes you really fall in love with the characters, despite their shortcomings. Gypsy and Clive are complex characters and far from being the archetypes usually found in this genre. The story revolves partly around their relationship, and it is an honest portrayal of a "straight-girl/gay-boy" relationship that goes beyond the sexist and homophobic notion of the "faghag." On their trip, they bump into a handful of colorful characters that are catalysts for the personal growth of the leads. These include a sexy Amish runaway (Anson Scoville), a former wannabe-pop-singer turned small-town karaoke chanteuse (the fabulously strange Karen Black), and an RV full of obnoxious hazing frat boys.

The writing is clever and original. Gypsy's tough-as-nails comebacks ("try being a freak in the real world, you catty c*nts!" to a bunch of gay goth boys in NYC) make her an admirable character that is easy to root for. While the "gothness" of the movie seems off-putting at first, it is actually used in a clever and unique way. Instead of using it to be scary or to stand-out (a la The "Craft"), this movie uses it to illustrate the personal changes the characters undergo. There are a couple scenes that are a bit absurd, such as when they camp out at a rest stop, light a bunch of candles, and drink absinthe. But this is forgiven as it is a set-up for two very sensitive and well-written scenes.

Music is also a key element used to illustrate Gypsy's coming-of-age. In the beginning of the movie, we see her singing a song from her parents' old band. We later learn that Gypsy's mother, Velvet, taught her to play and sing Stevie Nicks songs when she was a little girl. The soundtrack is killer. There is little Stevie music. Likely due to copyright issues, all we get are remixes and karaoke renditions of "Talk to Me." There are classic songs by The Cure, a sexy siren song sung by Karen Black, and an achingly gorgeous original by Sara Rue (who rather sounds like a young Stevie but has a voice all her own).

Like the equally brilliant "All Over Me" before it, the lead characters face brutal situations, as well as amazingly happy situations. While not as bleak as that movie, "Gypsy 83" is a beautiful film about accepting and loving yourself and coming to terms with tragic events from your past. Sometimes cheesy but never cliché, this is not a condescending coming-of-age film. And hey, any movie that uses "twirling like Stevie" as a metaphor is brilliant indeed! My Rating: 10/10.

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