Foxfire

24 ratings (23 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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Foxfire (1996)

Mar 29, 2000 (Updated Mar 29, 2000)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:direction, cinematography, story

Cons:convenient abandoned house, some will be offended

"Foxfire" is a drama about five teenage girls who become close friends but get into trouble with authority figures. Though critically ignored and maligned, it is actually an excellent film. I liked the cinematography, the characters, and even the eroticism.

The plot of "Foxfire" has an odious high school biology teacher sexually harassing several of his students. Led by teenaged drifter Legs (then-unknown Angelina Jolie), five girls become involved in an after school altercation with the teacher. He gets his, but the girls are expelled. They begin hanging together in an abandoned house, but Jolie's hostile attitudes towards men and authority disrupts their lives and friendships.

Some spoilers may follow. I feel that they're necessary to properly analyze the film. You've been warned!

One theme that I liked about the movie is that reckless behavior has negative consequences. A teacher is assaulted; those responsible are expelled. Stop signs and red lights are run; the car gets flipped. They break into a school; they unintentionally start a fire. A student experiments with drugs; she becomes a heroin addict.

Critical reaction to "Foxfire" is all over the map, and evenly spread between condemnation, hesitation, and praise. Common themes for criticism include the lesbian character Legs, a lengthy frontal nudity scene considered gratuitous, a few male characters who are complete jerks, and the similarity of the film's plot to any number of other 'female bonding' films. My only criticism is the abandoned house: how could such a lovely house, surrounded by woods, remain empty and open. It is a plot contrivance to give the young women a private hangout.

Too much is made of the lesbian themes of the movie. Of the five girls, only Legs is a lesbian. Maddy has a boyfriend, Violet is promiscuous, Rita is shy but fantasizes about men, while druggie Goldie is asexual. Jolie's character has an unresolved anger towards men, perhaps because of a troubled relationship with her own father. The film's occasional homoeroticism is limited to Legs, and whatever interest is returned to her by the other girls is from friendship.

There are two male characters in "Foxfire" that are jerks: the predatory teacher, and a jock who for some reason wants to revenge that teacher's downfall. The teacher character is too interesting to be a stereotype, while the hateful jock helps provide needed tension in the film. I don't have problems with either character. There is also Goldie's father, who attempts toughlove to reform his troubled daughter. He clearly cares for her, and in the end you feel sorry for him. (81/100)



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