Smithereens (1982)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A young woman from the poor part of town claws, shoves and hustles her way into becoming a major figure on the New York punk rock club circuit.

Rating: R
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Peter Askin, Ron Nyswaner, Susan Seidelman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 14, 2004


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as Christine

as Hustler in Bar

as Bouncer

as Tough Woman in Cafe

as Cecile's Roommate

as Nightclub Singer

as Woman at Bar

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Critic Reviews for Smithereens

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Serves as a time capsule for NYC's punk rock scene in the '80s.

Full Review… | February 29, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Susan Seidelman's feature debut, the first American indie to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, put New York's East Village sensibility onscreen by examining issues of identity, desire and self-fulfillment from a distinctly female perspective.

Full Review… | February 8, 2007

February 8, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Smithereens

The main character of this movie reminds me of the main character of Cabaret, they're both self destructive women looking for love in the wrong places. The whole movie, especially the end, is really sad, but inevitable. This movie doesn't get very far into exploring this character, it just kinda lingers. It's not bad, though, it's just okay.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

A worthwhile, if depressing, debut film from writer/director Susan Seidelman.

Susan Berman (IMDB indicates she has just seven acting credits in her career, stretched across 25 years) plays Wren, a feisty, curly-haired scenester. She seems somewhat tied to New York club culture (the Peppermint Lounge is prominently used as a location), but has no real commitment to the music and people beyond how much she can exploit them for financial support.

She has no income, drifts from friend to friend (whoever will take her) and unconvincingly lies about her homeless poverty. The heart of the plot is her pursuit of two men: a sweet newcomer from Montana who's living in his decrepit van (Brad Rinn) and a struggling rocker (real-life musician Richard Hell, who's quite solid as an actor).

It's interesting to view "Smithereens" in the context of other early-'80s films about young, trendy women (including Seidelman's big-budget follow-up, "Desperately Seeking Susan"). Wren's initial entrance (confidently plastering flyers with her face around the subway) suggests a spunky, independent, charismatic John Hughes heroine. Someone we'll fall in love with. So, it's a disturbing twist to discover that she's basically, well, a jerk. The girl is going nowhere fast, and there's no reason for anyone to care.

Underground legends the Feelies dominate the score, though two Hell songs appear too. A forgotten group called the Nitecaps also performs on camera. In the closing minutes, a young, skinny Chris Noth appears for a split-second as a transvestite hooker.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

i watched this film because I read that the feelies did the score, but ended up with the feeling that this is what rock and roll is all about really, a hierarchy of cool where bottom feeding is everyone's favorite pastime. I can imagine this film being "reimagined" today across the bridge in Williamsburg.

Worth seeing.

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