Foxfire [1996]

Genre: Drama
Angelina Jolie's strong-willed performance in Foxfire as Legs, the charismatic outsider based on the rebellious character from Joyce Carol Oates's novel, is a very good reason to see this 1996 drama. The film updates the story from the 1950s to the '90s, but for a while the air of teenage angst and confrontation is closer to the legacy of James Dean than gun-toting/body-piercing disaffection. Bold and larger-than-life, Legs quickly gathers a group of adolescent girls around her, each of whom has been sexually abused and is dealing in her own way with the emotional consequences. As expected, the girls plot out their revenge, but even more interesting is the intensity of their bond and rituals, the way they hang out in an abandoned house, their expressions of devotion. So tight and self-protective does this clique become that onlookers--fellow students, parents--become resentful. The final act loses faith somewhat with the mystique of this story, as a few hoary ideas (kidnapping, firearms) breach the film's originality. But what's good is good indeed, and Jolie's performance remains a harbinger of great things to come. --Tom Keogh

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