MIFF 2013 – Foxfire (2012)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772270/

Director: Laurent Cantet
Starring: Raven Adamson, Katie Coseni, Madeleine Bisson, Claire Mazerolle, Paige Moyles, Rachael Nyhuus, Lindsay Rolland-Mills, Alexandria Ferguson

In 1950s small town USA a group of young girls led by Legs (Raven Adamson) and her friend Maddy (Katie Coseni) decide to team up and form the girl gang Foxfire so they can stick up for each other and exact vengeance upon the men who rule their lives. It’s all fun and games until Legs ends up pulling a knife on a sleaze ball at school to defend one of their gang and a quick joyride later ends getting all the girls into trouble with her being sent off to reform school, the judge is not interested in her legal arguments.

Upon her release from incarnation, Legs decides to take all the girls and move into a farm house where they can live their own lives. It is almost a student share house/commune/feminist retreat decades before these things even existed. Money is tight for them, so they decide to play the oldest trick in the book and entrap men with the old honey pot trick. Maddy gets increasingly isolated from the group and Legs is plotting something big, leading to friction in the group. It does end with a bang, but not how you would expect.

This was a fun movie, even with the more serious and hard to watch parts where the girls get in real danger. It is based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. There was a version made in 1996 where Angelina Jolie played the character of Legs, but I have not seen that version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk3loe7cSQo

I enjoyed the setting including the girls costumes and hair, they reminded me of some women I know who also like to dress in the 50s style. Also having the story play around with various political ideologies during the Cold War makes more sense as the old man who they talk to in the park gives some background to the beliefs of Legs.

I have recommended this movie to a lot of my friends and it was also one of the films screened in the school sessions at MIFF, hopefully a lot of people get to see it including a younger audience. However, adult supervision is probably required as some of the scenes are very intense and would be too frightening for younger viewers to watch by themselves without someone to talk to about them later.

My favourite character in the movie was Rita (Madeleine Bisson) as at the start of the movie she is helpless to what other people want her to do and by the end she decides to go her own way and knows what she wants. She also does this without becoming hardened to the world like some of the other girls.

Some of the relationships between the girls are not really explained, especially between Legs and Maddy. I thought it was going to go down the “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” path and show them in a relationship. It is hinted at where Legs kisses the rich girl but apart from some of the girls teasing each other about “not being attractive to men”, they do not go into it.

I am glad to have watched the movie and enjoyed the story even if the resolution wasn’t what I expected.

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