Gypsy 83 tells the story of two young Goths from Ohio who feel like they don’t belong. The eponymous Gypsy 83 dreams of becoming a famous singer, while her homosexual friend Clive (not his real name, he chose it because he thought is sounded ‘edgy’. Can anyone tell me on what planet the name Clive would be considered edgy?) can’t decide whether he wants to be “a photographer, a painter, a stylist or a poet,” but knows he wants to get out of Ohio.

Despite being set in 2001, both characters are very much trapped in the Eighties. They worship Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and Clive’s room is adorned with posters of The Cure and Morrissey. Rather than this being an act of youthful defiance and rebellion, Gypsy’s father is shown as once being in a semi-successful band in the Eighties, making it about as rebellious as a child wearing a suit to be ‘just like daddy’. In the opening scenes, Gypsy walks through the car park at work, people she passes being hilariously shocked at her ‘outrageous’ image. Perhaps they’re just shocked that a 25-year-old in 2001 would choose to dress like something that was found living in Robert Smith's hair.

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After reading about a club night in New York dedicated to their idol, ‘Night of a thousand Stevies’ (this is apparently a real thing, who knew there were still so many Stevie Nicks fans?), they see it as a chance to escape Ohio and pursue their dreams. What follows is a cinematic roadtrip that clearly considers itself to be an important milestone in the coming-of-age genre, but is in actuality as dull and self-centred as its whiney protagonists. Along the way, they learn profound lessons, such as the fact that people aren’t always who they appear to be. Well, gosh, who knew?

The film tries desperately hard to convince us Gypsy and Clive are beautiful misunderstood souls trapped in a sea of mediocrity, but they simply come across as posers. Gypsy ties her ambitions in with her desire to have “people write my lyrics on their AOL profiles”, as if that’s some sort of lofty goal, while Clive spends his whole time pointing his Super 8 camera at random things, a particularly annoying cinematic shorthand for ‘arty’. When a grief-stricken woman rightly tells them off for performing some sort of erotic dance at a graveyard (wow, how deep), they basically tell her to piss off. And we’re expected to sympathise with these people?

The film is flat, bland and just plain boring to look at. Writer/Director Todd Stephens shows no dramatic flare, either in charge of a pen or a camera. The two leads do a convincing job with the material they’re given, but when said material is this sloppy, who cares?

Reviewed on: 20 Feb 2009
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A couple of outcast Goths from Ohio run away to New York seeking fame, fortune and acceptance.
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Director: Todd Stephens

Writer: Tim Kaltenecker, Todd Stephens, Todd Stephens

Starring: Sara Rue, Kett Turton, Karen Black, John Doe, Anson Scoville, Paulo Costanzo

Year: 2001

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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