Foxfire (1996)

Runtime: 101 Mins
Language: English
Country: U.S.
IMDb Link:

Director: Annette Haywood-Carter
Hedy Burress … Maddy Wirtz
Angelina Jolie … “Legs” Sadovsky
Jenny Lewis … Rita Faldes
Jenny Shimizu … Goldie Goldman
Sarah Rosenberg … Violet Kahn
Peter Facinelli … Ethan Bixby

Not as bad as it looks, even with Angelina Jolie trying to play a teenager – this film has a very interesting theme of Female-Solidarity or sisterhood and girl-bonding in groups rarely ever seen, which raises it way above the average for me.  These girls learn to stick together as a group – even when they have little in common, and don’t even like each other all that much.

Description:  Annette Haywood-Carter’s “Foxfire,” is adapted from a Joyce Carol Oates novel,  and re-located  from the 1950s to the 1990s, and tells the story of four high school seniors in Portland, who are united when a young drifter by nick-name of “Legs” (Angelina Jolie) enters their midst and encourages them to physically assault a male teacher who’s been sexually harassing several of the girl students.

The teacher’s victims include Rita (Jenny Lewis), a passive loner, and Violet (Sarah Rosenberg), a sad lonely girl trying to overcome her low self-esteem by sleeping her way through the high school yearbook. Their comrades in arms (actually, the weapon is a knee) are the stable, self-confident Maddy (Hedy Burress) and Goldie (Jenny Shimizu), who is pot-smoking and self-destructive.

A very diverse group of girls, who have little in common with each other, but are all drawn to the stranger “Legs”.

The classroom incident gets the girls suspended for three weeks, giving them time to set up and hang out at an abandoned house and get into more trouble. Soon, they’re breaking into the school and setting off fire alarms, tattooing their chests with an adopted unity symbol, swilling inexplicable supplies of whiskey and confronting a testosterone squad of male bullies. Before they’re through, kidnappings have occurred, guns have been fired, cars have been trashed, and the few parents spotted have been demonized.
These are rebels with a definite cause. 

Angelina Jolie’s “Legs” Sadovsky character seems inspired by James Dean’s Jim in “Rebel Without a Cause,” and that’s the way she is introduced to us, as an outsider whose attempts to hide her pain and vulnerability make her seem many times tougher than she is.

Legs steps into the film, literally, with attitude, a pair of black, square-toed boots landing hard on a rain-soaked Portland street. She dresses like a guy, walks like a guy, thinks like a guy. She’s beautiful, she’s sensitive, and, as far as we can tell from as far the filmmakers are willing to go, she’s gay. Her mother’s dead and her father’s unknown, and now she’s alone, heading nowhere. A drifter for the ’90s, lost but unafraid.

For all its potential faults, and its divergence from the novel its loosely based on, this film actually *works* on many levels, with a strangely satisfying ending. Girl-Power with Attitude.


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