Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kevin Smith|
|Produced by||Scott Mosier|
|Written by||Kevin Smith|
|Music by||David Pirner|
|Edited by||Scott Mosier|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$12 million|
Chasing Amy is a 1997 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Jason Lee. The film is about a male comic artist (Affleck) who falls in love with a lesbian woman (Adams), to the displeasure of his best friend (Lee). It is the third film in Smith's View Askewniverse series.
The film was originally inspired by a brief scene from an early film by a friend of Smith's. In Guinevere Turner's Go Fish, one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for "selling out" by sleeping with a man. Smith was dating Adams at the time he was writing the script, which was also partly inspired by her.
The film received mostly positive reviews, praising the humor, performances and Kevin Smith's direction. The film won two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Lee). Characters from the film would go on to appear in later Askewniverse films Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019), direct spin-offs of Chasing Amy, with Affleck, Lee, Adams and Ewell reprising their roles in cameo appearances; Smith describing the characters' roles in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot as being an "eight-page sequel" to Chasing Amy.
Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are comic book artists and lifelong best friends. They meet fellow comic book artist Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) at a comic book convention in New York City, where they are promoting their comic Bluntman and Chronic. Holden is attracted to Alyssa, but soon learns that she is a lesbian. The two begin spending time together, and a deep friendship develops. Eventually, Holden is no longer able to contain his feelings, and confesses his love to Alyssa. She is initially angry with him, but that night, the two sleep together and begin a romantic relationship.
This new development worsens the tension between Holden and Banky, as Banky resents Alyssa for coming between him and his best friend. He investigates and uncovers dirt on Alyssa's past, and he reports to Holden that Alyssa participated in a threesome with two boys during high school, who gave her the nickname "Finger Cuffs". Holden is deeply upset by this revelation, having previously believed that he is the first man Alyssa had ever slept with. While attending a hockey game, he clumsily attempts to bait her into confessing, and in response she angrily boasts of having had the threesome in question, loudly enough for everyone within earshot to hear. During the argument that ensues, she tearfully tells Holden about her "many" youthful sexual experimentations, and refuses to apologize for her past. Holden leaves feeling disillusioned and furious.
Later, during lunch with Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), Silent Bob reveals that he was once in a relationship similar to Holden's. Despite the fact that he was in love with his girlfriend, Amy, his neurosis about her adventurous sexual past led him to end the relationship. Later realizing that this was wrong decision, he says he has "spent every day since then chasing Amy, so to speak."
Moved by Silent Bob's story, Holden devises a plan to fix both his relationship with Alyssa and his estranged friendship with Banky. He invites them both over and tells Alyssa that he would like to get over her past and remain her boyfriend. He also tells Banky that he realizes that Banky is in love with him—kissing him passionately to prove the point. Holden suggests a threesome. Though initially shocked, Banky agrees to participate, but Alyssa refuses, explaining to Holden that it will not save their relationship. Before leaving, she states that she will always love him, but she will not be his "whore." Banky then leaves the room without saying a word.
One year later, both Banky and Alyssa are busy promoting their own respective comics at a convention in New York. It is revealed that Holden and Banky dissolved their partnership on Bluntman and Chronic, the rights to which Holden now exclusively owns. Banky smiles sadly at seeing Holden, who silently congratulates him for his success on his own solo comic. Banky gestures over to a booth hosted by Alyssa, and provides wordless encouragement to Holden to go talk to her. He has a brief, quietly emotional conversation with Alyssa, and gives her a copy of Chasing Amy, his new comic based on their relationship. After Holden leaves, Alyssa's new girlfriend (Virginia Smith) arrives and asks who she was talking to. A shaken, misty-eyed Alyssa replies, "Oh, just some guy I knew."
- Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil
- Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa Jones
- Jason Lee as Banky Edwards
- Dwight Ewell as Hooper X
- Jason Mewes as Jay
- Kevin Smith as Silent Bob
- Ethan Suplee as Fan
- Scott Mosier as Collector
- Casey Affleck as Little Kid
- Matt Damon as Shawn Oran
- Brian O'Halloran as Jim Hicks
- Carmen Llywelyn as Kim
- Guinevere Turner as Singer
- Joe Quesada (uncredited) as Himself
On a budget of $250,000, the film grossed a total of $12,021,272 in theaters. Chasing Amy played at three locations and earned $52,446 upon its opening weekend in the United States. The following week, the film was expanded to a further twenty-two theaters where it grossed $302,406. During the 18–20 April 1997 weekend, Chasing Amy was screened at a further 494 locations, where it earned $1,642,402 and moved into the Top 10.
Chasing Amy received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 87% based on reviews from 84 critics, with a rating average of 7.31/10. According to the site's summary of the critical consensus, "Chasing Amy explores gender roles, sexual mores, and the limits of friendship with a mixture of sensitivity, raw honesty, and director/screenwriter Kevin Smith's signature raunchy humor." Metacritic, which assigns a score of 1–100 to individual film reviews, gives the film an average rating of 71 based on 28 reviews. Audiences polled by Cinemascore gave the film a grade A-minus.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5/4 stars, saying; "While the surface of his film sparkles with sharp, ironic dialogue, deeper issues are forming, and Chasing Amy develops into a film of touching insights. Most romantic comedies place phony obstacles in the way of true love, but Smith knows that at some level there's nothing funny about being in love: It's a dead serious business, in which your entire being is at risk." Ebert believed the film was an improvement over Smith's previous effort Mallrats and he added that Adams was a discovery. Charles Taylor, writing for Salon, quipped "Chasing Amy isn't going to single-handedly save romantic comedy, but Smith (Clerks) has made the only romantic comedy in quite a while that acknowledges, even celebrates, the fact that love and sex are emotional anarchy." Writing in Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston observed: "Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith's third feature, does to romantic comedy what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Spider-Man did to superhero comics in the '60s: It makes a tired genre newly relevant by giving its characters motivations and problems that seem real."
In the book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire, Lisa M. Diamond cites the film as a notable example of female sexual fluidity in popular culture, writing that Chasing Amy "depicts a lesbian becoming involved with a man, contrary to the more widespread depictions of heterosexual women becoming involved in same-sex relationships."
The film was criticized by Judith Kegan Gardiner in the book Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory, describing Chasing Amy as representative of a "fairly repulsive genre of films" that feature a "heterosexual conversion narrative" that is "set in motion by the desire of a heterosexual person for a seemingly unattainable gay person."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result|
|British Independent Film Awards||October 29, 1998||Best Foreign Independent Film||Chasing Amy||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||March 1, 1998||Most Promising Actress||Joey Lauren Adams||Won|
|Golden Globe Award||January 18, 1998||Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Joey Lauren Adams||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||March 21, 1998||Best Film||Chasing Amy||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Kevin Smith||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Jason Lee||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||January 1998||Most Promising Actress||Joey Lauren Adams||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association||January 15, 1996||Best Screenplay||Kevin Smith||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||May 30, 1998||Best Breakthrough Performance||Joey Lauren Adams||Nominated|
|Best Kiss||Joey Lauren Adams and Carmen Llywelyn||Nominated|
|National Board of Review of Motion Pictures||December 8, 1998||Special Recognition for Excellence in Filmmaking||Chasing Amy||Won|
A special edition DVD was released with 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. It includes the following bonus features: Audio commentary from cast and crew; Introduction by Smith; deleted scenes; outtakes; and a theatrical trailer.
Chasing Amy was originally released as a Criterion Collection Laserdisc. Smith raised eyebrows when he recorded the running commentary for the Laserdisc in 1997, as he started it by saying, "This is a Laserdisc, and I'd like to take a moment to say 'fuck DVD'." When Criterion released the DVD—which re-uses the Laserdisc running commentary—Smith recorded a special introduction in which he apologized for the comment and jokingly attributed it to Jason Mewes.
In Japan, the screenplay of Chasing Amy was adapted into a novel by Kenichi Eguchi and published by Aoyama Publishing. The unique concept of the book is that it is roughly half-novel, half-manga, with Moyoko Anno providing the art for the comic book pages. In an episode of SModcast, Smith revealed that while he was thrilled to have a manga based on his film, he was shocked when he read the novelization, as the characters' sexual histories, which are just mentioned in conversation in the film, are depicted in the novel's manga illustrations as sexually graphic flashbacks.
Smith had the original screenplay published along with his "Clerks" script from Miramax Books.
The film had no soundtrack album released, however, many songs make an appearance in the movie, including a cover of The Cars' ' Let's Go' performed by Ernie Isley, 'The Impression That I Get' by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Run's House by Run-DMC and other songs by artists such as Public Enemy, The Hang Ups, Gwen Guthrie and Liz Phair.
There are two songs by the band Soul Asylum featured in the film: 'Lucky One' and 'We 3'. The band had previously contributed the song 'Can't Even Tell' to the soundtrack of Smith's 1994 debut film Clerks. Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner composed the incidental music for the film, and the film's theme song, 'Tube of Wonderful', which plays over the opening credits. The song makes a re-appearance in Smith's 2001 film Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.
The music video for the song "Have You Seen Mary" performed by the band Sponge features several scenes of the film. In Chasing Amy, the song is played in the scene while Holden and Hooper are at Jack's Music Shoppe.
In a scene originally written for Mallrats, several principal characters share memories of sexual escapades gone awry. This scene reveals the character's own emotional "sex scars" and was purposefully created—down to the style of dialogue and set dressing—to mirror a scene from Steven Spielberg's Jaws in which Quint and Hooper share the physical scars they've both earned from encounters with sharks. However, in this film it's used with Alyssa and Banky. 
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