It’s ironic—and maddeningly irritating—that Foxes, a film following the aspirations and frustrations of four L.A. teen-agers and busking for sympathy for them, should be so condescending in its attitude. The four girls (Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, Marilyn Kagan and Kandice Stroh) want desperately to fly away from their tattered, imprisoning home nests. They try all kinds of anodynes: every drug going, booze, sex and music that will, in the California argot, “mellow them out.” They want to be taken seriously, and not be just looked upon as slumming in the limbo of adolescence. But the script and direction keep adopting a superior tone toward them and we never discover who they are or want to be. These little foxes are in an old movie given a modern gloss, Rebelettes Without a Cause.
The few causes that are displayed are external rather than inner. Annie (Currie) has a fascist-minded cop-father who wants to put her in an institution; Madge (Kagan) is misunderstood by her mother (Lois Smith, with an eye on an Oscar, but never on the scene at hand) and has an affair with an older man; the
wise-beyond-her-years Jeanie (Foster) has a neurotic mom, played by Sally Kellerman, the reigning neurotic mom. The scenes between these two ring so false you keep thinking it’s a put-on: after one embarrassingly written confrontation, would you believe they end up in bed together reading Plato? One line does, however, ring true: Kellerman, sizing up Jodie’s nubile form, announces, “You make me hate my hips!” Visually, nearly every shot (underexposed to create moody, poetic effects) has to make a point—not for the pushy, full-of-holes Saturday Night Fever-ish
plot contrivances, but for the film-makers—the movie keeps saying I have gone to film school. At the end, when Jeanie visits Annie’s grave and delivers a monologue about Annie wanting to be buried under a peach tree so that her friends can keep tasting her, it’s a “poetic” interlude—the tragedy of Hollywood High. But few care about these teen angels, least of all the filmmakers. Lawrence O’Toole
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.