Directed by Gus Van Sant • 1995 • United States, United Kingdom
Starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix
Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard (which was inspired by the true story of Pamela Smart), Gus Van Sant’s whip-smart, darkly comic satire explores America’s obsession with celebrity. Nicole Kidman delivers a wickedly diabolical breakthrough performance as Suzanne Stone, a shallow, narcissistic, and ruthlessly ambitious small-town girl with a dream to become a famous TV personality—even if her husband (Matt Dillon) stands in the way. After she manages to talk her way into a job at a local TV station, Suzanne sets about climbing the corporate ladder, enlisting the help of three easily manipulated teenagers (Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland). Together, they form a powerful and dangerous bond that threatens to blow the lid off their seemingly idyllic suburban life.