'Do you want to come inside my house?' 'Foxfire' and the Teenage Closet
To say that Angelina is the primary attraction would be to do the film a disservice. Foxfire provides a smorgasbord of teen crush hotness. For starters, it features Jolie’s then-girlfriend Jenny Shimizu (who has since been featured in Itty Bitty Titty Committee andPower Lesbians), playing the troubled, impossibly cool, gorgeously androgynous Goldie.
Hedy Buress purrs with a humble, yet pragmatic, “cool babysitter” vibe as Maddy as she cleans up all the messes her “good friend”/mysterious stranger Legs (Jolie) makes. Violet is a leggy, sexually advanced Goth-Anime goddess, for whom the very “now” issue of slut shaming takes front and center.
And last, but very certainly not least, future indie rock star Jenny Lewis (aka my truluv4eva) laughably plays “the chubby one,” Rita, who discovers her own sexual potential by singing a self-penned, BDSM-inspired song in a grocery store. The song, earnest and mortifying at the same time, feels uncomfortably close to the self-indulgent scribbling of my own adolescence:
Rita: Do you wanna come inside my house? Do you wanna show me things I've never seen before? I don't wanna tie you down, I just wanna tie you up. Do you wanna come inside my house?
Foxfire provided sufficient beautiful and amazing young women to lead even the most hetero girls wandering into the misty lands of “questioning.” Or so I imagined.
You can’t go back to Foxfire again, is how a famous quote goes. Misquoted cliché or not, the sentiment is absolutely true – watching it now is part nostalgia, part disappointment. Sure, the “hollaback,” budding-feminist, earnest, Oates-ian vibe makes this film slightly more palatable as a now-grown (if not quite “adult”) woman. But on re-watching, Foxfire certainly seems to have earned its low Rotten Tomatoes score through its occasionally cringe-worthy dialogue and tedious plot elements.
Silly plot aside, I could also fill an entire column talking about how whitewashed and racially problematic the film is – especially when it comes to eroticizing Goldie, the only non-white character, in ways that smack of Orientalism. The fact that her character has no agency throughout the film and is perpetually being rescued by the white protagonists is troubling to say the least. Additionally, the novel’s New York state, working-class setting has also been completely erased and replaced with upper middle-class women in Portland.
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