The Crush turns 30 this year, but rather than do a full review of the film, I wanted to share some thoughts. I was 11 when it was first released, so I had to wait for it to hit video stores since Mom didn’t care to watch it. This was a time before IMDb, when the internet wasn’t popular/widely accessible. I kept up with my favorite actors and upcoming films by watching Entertainment Tonight. If it wasn’t apparent before, I was a different kind of kiddo.
I had an interest in The Crush because I had a pseudo-crush on Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride. And of course, can’t forget NOES 3: Dream Warriors Taryn (Jennifer Ruben). Also important to note, this would be Alicia Silverstone’s (The Requin (2022) first feature film. And Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999) also makes her feature film debut as Adrianne’s best friend and all-around good girl Cheyanne.
‘The Crush‘ is Based on Actual Events
According to writer/director Alan Shapiro (Flipper (1996), he wrote the script after his wife suggested that his real-life account would make for a great movie. Silverstone’s character was originally named ‘Darian’, after the girl in real life. But once the film was released, the family filed a lawsuit, forcing them to change her name to ‘Adrianne’. There are still some dubs and original press that use the original name, but streaming and syndication have the dubbing as ‘Adrianne’.
An 11-year-old won’t take much away from a film like The Crush, other than picking up on the suspense and good acting. It’s been a long time since I last saw it, not counting when it was on the tele a year or so ago because I wasn’t paying much attention. But I gave it a re-watch, and just have so many thoughts. Over the years I’ve seen reviews pop up and lists that it’s made. It’s been called “trash”, “campy”, and “inappropriate”. The Crush is a product of its time. But learning it’s based on Shapiro’s real-life experience just added to the cringe-iness of the film.
THE CRUSH (1993) Synopsis
Twenty-eight-year-old writer Nick Eliot (Cary Elwes) secures a job at Pique magazine and lodging in a guest house belonging to Cliff and Liv Forrester. The handsome Nick soon becomes acquainted with and frequently visited by the couple’s 14-year-old daughter Darian (Alicia Silverstone) a precocious girl who becomes intensely infatuated with him.
Turning Trauma into Art, or Telling on Yourself?
When it comes to the fear that some men seemingly have of scorned women, or even girls making false accusations against them, there’s a lot of controversy. While it’s rare that it happens, it does happen. And because of the imbalance of social justice when you compare crimes against women committed by men, versus crimes against men committed by women, it gets even messier. As a narrative, speaking objectively, it could make for good horror. If it’s something that plagues a man, then why wouldn’t he write it out, so to speak?
Now, subjectively, in my personal experience, I’ve been harmed and disregarded more by men. I’ve also experienced pervy older men harassing, and making sexual advances at me since I was 10. On the other side of things, I’ve also had two male friends who were falsely accused by unstable women, when I was a witness to the actual events that occurred.
When those conversations come up publically, it’s difficult to weigh in because if I don’t have the expected response, I could be chastised. “Always believe victims” is a strong and common credence today. And while I’m not without empathy when accusations arise, I won’t partake in the court of public opinion. I can’t defend people I don’t know, in situations I know nothing about. But I sometimes share my experiences when I feel they’ll be heard.
Intent vs. Perception
That said, with The Crush, there are little things about the characters and even how they’re filmed that make it uncomfortable for me and leave a lot of questions about what his situation was with the young girl this story is based on. Especially his unwillingness to change Darian’s character’s name.
Carousels in the Attic
Human sexuality, especially in developing youth is complicated. Teenagers can be irrational. There’s no doubt in my mind that a hurt and angry teen would do something duplicitous without regard for consequences. Hell, I knew a few when I was growing up. I just feel weird about The Crush all around because of the creative decisions made. Then there’s the nagging question: how much of it was creative and how much of it was fact? And to be clear, I’m not casting judgment, just curious.
In the end, only he and Darian know. If you’re curious about the film, it’s currently on Amazon Prime (the audio mix is terrible, not sure if it’s the same on the other platforms), Screambox, and Tubi.