Foxfire

on August 23, 1996 by Pat Kramer
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   Not since "Thelma and Louise" has a film as skillfully captured the true essence of female struggle, rebellion, pain, and subsequent bonding so effectively. "Foxfire," the directorial debut of Annette Haywood-Carter, is a powerfully intoxicating story about four frightened teenagers and a darkly mysterious female drifter who influences and forever changes their lives, as they join forces in an all-out rebellion that quickly escalates into a sometimes violent, deeply moving journey into the unknown.
   Angelina Jolie ("Hackers") is the seductive and alluring James Dean-like Legs Sadovsky. Her mother dead, and her father having abandoned her, Legs shows up in a high school biology classroom where a male teacher is preying on young women, and she unabashedly inspires a violent attack upon him. Student Maddy Wirtz (Hedy Burress of NBC's "Boston Common") finds herself uncontrollably drawn to the unknown stranger. Supporting the two is the emotionally troubled Rita Faldes (Jenny Lewis of "Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even"), drug addict Goldie Goldman (supermodel Jenny Shimizu), and the promiscuous Violet Kahn (Sarah Rosenberg of TV's "Under Suspicion").
   Powerful in his presentation, "Foxfire" cinematographer Tom Sigel ("Money for Nothing") uses an array of unusual camera angles that, along with the film's edgy, alternative rock soundtrack, successfully evokes teenage angst as well as fear, suspense, seduction and love. In addition, the setting of a decrepit house as the young women's official clubhouse along with the natural backdrop of Seattle's chilling rains create the elements of despair and bleakness. Despite the inexperience of its director and two of its stars, "Foxfire" succeeds in creating riveting characters in a fast-paced story that brings to life the essence of the Joyce Carol Oates' best-selling novel. Portraying the vulnerabilities of its characters with great sensitivity, the film avoids the pitfalls of other films which (using a supposed formula for a "vigilante women's movie") end up commercializing or exploiting delicate subject matter. Beautiful in its portrayal, powerful in its content, "Foxfire" sets a new standard for dramatic films--not just the "female-oriented" genre but as a piece of work which effectively addresses the yearnings, struggles and attempts to overcome the limits of society in the '90s. This movie is a must-see. Starring Hedy Burress, Angelina Jolie, Jenny Lewis, Jenny Shimizu and Sarah Rosenberg. Directed by Annette Haywood-Carter. Written by Elizabeth White. Produced by Jeffrey Lurie, John Bard Manulis and John P. Marsh. A Goldwyn release. Drama. Rated R for teen nudity, drug use, strong language and some violent situations. Running time: 101 min
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