Susan is a girl of no means who puts her thrift store sourced looks together with creativity and confidence – she is sort of the antithesis of a Gossip Girl protagonist. Susan proved that fashion and style aren’t about money and I think for that reason alone the film is worth revisiting.
Yes, that’s Madonna circa 1985 in her role as SUSAN. The mysterious, free-spirited, man-eating wild child that roamed New York’s downtown jungle in search of fun and fashion. Look back into this 80’s time capsule and you’ll find all the sartorial raw materials from which today’s pop-stars’ personas are built. Ms. Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Lynn we see you.
It’s also interesting, in an anthropological sort of way, to look back at the last vestige of the “downtown scene” as it were.
A jumble of mid 80’s art players (Warhol, Sprouse, Haring & Basquiat) and their work
In the last Film Fashion Friday Feature ( Factory Girl) we looked into Any Warhol’s factory world. The 80’s incarnation of that scene produced Artists like Jean Michel Basquiat (who briefly dated Madonna), Keith Haring and Fashion Designers like Stephen Sprouse. There was a mini pop art revival in the 80’s and that in conjunction with the dance music based club scene produced creatures like the fictional Susan – a plausible facsimile of the quintessential 1985 downtown party girl.
At the time of the films release Madonna was at the height of her cool and her brash confident attitude and unique styling spawned a cultish following of “Madonna wannabees”, who copied her every fashion step. This film belongs in the fashion cannon because it’s heroine makes her own style – and she doesn’t care of you like it.
So if you want to ride along with a straight laced house wife on her adventure through the wilds of 80’s Greenwich Village ( a land before cell phones and the internet, when people actually went to clubs to dance and emerged hours later sweaty and spent…wait, that came out wrong ..but you get it) this is your vehicle.
Roberta (a bored suburban house wife ) seeks vicarious thrills through other people’s personal ads. But via a jacket, amnesia and mistaken identity, Roberta comes to believe she’s Susan (a wild Soho vamp wanted by the mob). A handsome artist falls for “Susan” (Roberta); the real Susan has no idea she has a double; and Roberta’s husband, Jim, is thrown for a loop. There are tons of random and entertaining cameos in this little romantic comedy – and yes it’s available on Netflix.
Running Time – 1 hour & 43 minutes