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Gypsy 83 (2001)

by on 2011/09/26

“What some people will do to belong.”

* * * *

Any film that features two gorgeous goths dancing in a graveyard to The Cure’s Just Like Heaven deserves a special place in my heart.

In fact, the first few scenes of this terrific movie written and directed by Todd Stephens rendered impartiality impossible for this old school goth. We see lovely Gypsy Vale (Sara Rue) being outfitted in a glorious black corsetted outfit, all white skin and black lipstick, with her best friend and fellow beauty Clive Webb (Kett Turton).

Gypsy and Clive are outcasts alone together in small-town Sandusky, Ohio. Gypsy works in a drive-thru photo processing hut and Clive attends the local high school. When they aren’t at school or work, they are dreaming dreams of fabulousness in Clive’s gothic lair in his sister’s basement or picnicking with candelabras at the local graveyard.

Both have talent. Both are picked on and abused by the small-minded denizens of middle America. Both are united in loss – Gypsy was abandoned by her mother, Clive’s brother, mother and father were killed. And both love Stevie Nicks – “The Unlikely Godmother of Goth.”

When the two discover that New York night club Mother is hosting a ‘Night of a 1,000 Stevies,” they make good their escape. What follows is a roadtrip that is as dreamy and eclectic as Gypsy and Clive themselves. Along the long road to New York and belonging, we met a glamourous, aging chantreuse  Bambi LeBleau (Karen Black) at a highway roadstop, members of a fraternity house and an Amish boy running away from home.

It was charming. It was involving. It was heartbreaking. It was lovely.

When I discovered Stevie Nicks refused to allow her music to be used in this sweet and sympathetic portrayal, I was darkly annoyed. I’m not sure why the Ms. Nicks refused but I think she made a mistake here. Gypsy 83 was deeply respectful.

Mostly, I think this movie was chemically configured to appeal to me. Small-town goths overcoming bullying and their backwater roots. Clive has the same posters on this walls as I did when I was was young. The soundtrack is comprised of  songs from The Cure, Bauhaus and Claire Voyant.

Gypsy 83 simply oozes gothic loveliness.

I will leave you with a line from the wonderful Clive:

“I just want someone to kiss, with big, soft, delicious lips. He’d have to smother me in old-school romance. I mean, candles and incense, Moët and Chandon, but only in a deserted castle in the south of France.”

* * * *

94 minutes

Rated R for nudity, sexuality, drinking and drug use

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