Movie Review By Heather Clisby
When 26-year-old filmmaker, Sarah Jacobson, got tired of inaccurate cinematic portrayals of girls exploring sex, she decided to make her own film. The result is "Mary Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore," a low-budget, honest film that finally brings a sweaty, awkward reality to the back seat of a car.
Mary Jane, played by Lisa Gerstein, is a fiery high schooler curious about sex. She works at a movie theater that employs a tightly-woven group of punks, drunks, homosexuals and generally aimless young folks who spend most days drinking, teasing, hitting the bong and discussing the romantic/sexual possibilities of one another. Occasionally, they make popcorn for the always-disgruntled customers.
The film begins with Jane's referred deflowering and from there, the questions begin. At first, her only friend among the group is the theater's manager, Dave (played by Greg Cruikshank), a kind, handsome, gay man who is her protector. She's feels like a freak because she's "too normal."
Through her quest for knowledge, she bonds with Ericka, an adorable punkstress played by real-life adorable punkstress, Beth Allen, and troubled pretty girl, Grace, played by Marny Snyder.
Throughout the film, Jane gets each co-worker to tell their own sex debut story one-on-one. Each is a short tale of graceless disappointment, humiliation and pain. While Ericka assures Jane "I never met a girl who had fun having sex the first time," Grace disregards her first deflowering, mostly because she'd been unconscious. "It only counts if you say 'yes,'" Grace confirms.
Jacobson is wise to not make this all about girls; boys also get their stories in, which include all the macho pressures and subsequent failures endured.
"Mary Jane's Not A Virgin Anymore" is a well-written, upfront film that everyone can relate to. Occasionally, the story is interrupted by an idealized Hollywood take on this event so we can note the stark difference. It's not necessary, the story itself is engaging, the characters are fully drawn; it stands on its' own without comparison.
Though some might call this a teen flick, this isn't "Sixteen Candles." Mary Jane may be naive and inexperienced but she's also smart, opinionated and very rehearsed on her feminist views. The only suggestion of parents we get are overheard arguments through the bedroom door, otherwise, Jane is alone to find things out for herself, just like the rest of us.
© 1998 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 6/3/98
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