I’ve really been hankering after the 90’s lately, particularly after Captain Marvel and its outstanding soundtrack. If I could go back for a weekend with no consequence or effect on my present day life, I so would.
So, with this in mind, this week’s film is perfectly placed and I might be *am* #obsessed with the fashion, the whole aesthetic and our leading lady.
Party Girl (1995)
Mary is a free-spirited young woman with a run-down New York apartment and a high fashion wardrobe. She calls her godmother, a librarian, for bail money after being arrested for throwing an illegal party. To repay the loan, she begins working as a library clerk.
Starring: Parker Posey • Omar Townsend • Donna Mitchell • Liev Schreiber
Mary (Parker Posey) is your average NYC party girl. More or less unemployed with an insane designer wardrobe, moving from coolest club to cooler club and getting off with Liev Schreiber in the street. When she’s booked by New York’s finest for throwing an illegal party, she is forced to call upon her godmother Judy (Sasha von Scherler) to bail her out.
Judy – tough but fair – does it but she also lectures Mary on responsibility. To pay back the bail money she gives her goddaughter a job as a clerk at the library where she works. Mary is not stoked to be there and spends more time outside talking to the falafel vendor, Mustafa (Omar Townsend), who she digs.
When we meet Mary she has a boyfriend, Nigel (Schreiber) but he’s dumped when he admits he’s peed in Mary’s shower again. This frees up our free-spirited heroine to flirt with Mustafa, who is in competition with a rival vendor, on the same corner of the street. Mustafa reveals he used to be a teacher in Lebanon.
For a while Mary gets by at the library but she’s still preoccupied by the party scene – and she doesn’t really get the filing system. One day Judy has enough and reams her out, telling her that even a monkey could have learnt how to file by now. These stinging words obviously get to Mary as she chooses to stay overnight at the library that night to get her head around the Dewey Decimal System, rather than going to da club, where her BFF Leo (Guillermo Díaz) has just got his first gig.
His new boss Rene (Donna Mitchell) is an absolute queen I have to say and hard as nails. My favourite side character by far.
After this Mary becomes pretty fucking good at her job but Judy still won’t really trust her, citing the irresponsibility of Mary’s mother as one of the factors. Sounds fair.
Unfortunately, Mary fucks up one last time when she bones Mustafa in the library and some books get damaged. Judy fires her and she falls into a downward spiral, fighting with her new man, doing drugs and almost getting raped by Nasty Nigel. She and Leo are also evicted and the worst thing that could happen happens – she is forced to sell her wardrobe to stay afloat.
All this serves as a wake up call and Mary finally makes a decision about her future. But she needs Judy on board – is it too late to convince her?
PG is honestly very charming and also not nearly as fluffy as I was expecting. It’s all the more endearing for it too. Posey is dreamy at the best of times but as Mary, she manages to keep you invested at all times. Even when she’s in self-destruct mode.
I love the juxtaposition between both worlds – the frivolous and the responsible. I haven’t really much more to say about it other than I love the 90’s ballroom scene vibe, the spectacle and the attention to detail.
Posey’s wardrobe isn’t just cute, it’s a work of art and an expression of the character. This is a cool article about some of the outfits she puts together.
In my mind I hope she becomes the most successful librarian in NYC but also remains prolific on the party scene. She shouldn’t have to give up one for the other if she doesn’t want to.
⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐