Smithereens is Susan Seidelman’s feature length debut and a strong New York City film to start with. She’s best known for directing episodes of Sex and the City, including the pilot, but then she has the really incredible gift to tell stories about women who aren’t annoying as shit like the characters on Sex and the City. Smithereens was the first American independent film to compete at the Cannes Film Festival and now we have multiple American artists trying to crack Cannes every year.
Wren is a young wannabe punk from New Jersey who moves to N.Y.C. to chase fame without doing much work for it. She gets involved with a punk rock musician named Eric who doesn’t really give a shit about her but he’s in the scene so she keeps latching onto him. Another drifter from Montana named Paul who lives out of his van catches Wren’s eye, but only when she has nowhere to go. She treats Paul sort of like Eric treats her and it’s a sad cycle. Wren eventually realizes that the punk scene is moving to L.A. so she sets her sights on heading West. The only problem is, she has no way of getting there.
Susan Seidelman has no problem getting up close and personal with her slacker characters in Smithereens. It’s got an odd pace, but because of the fantastic music provided by The Feelies members, Glenn Mercer and Bill Million, it moves just right. Susan Berman plays Wren to perfection which means you don’t necessarily like her but you want to reach through the screen and help guide her along her toxic journey through N.Y.C. Brad Rijn plays the helpless Paul with the van and I felt pretty bad for him the whole time. Singer and bassist from the Neon Boys and Television, Richard Hell plays Eric who is so fucking unlikable. I wanted to slap him for Wren but that just shows how good of a job he did. Smithereens is a treasure for the misfit fans of cinema and a great look at N.Y.C. through a specific perspective.