Foxfire (1996 film)
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|Directed by||Annette Haywood-Carter|
|Produced by||Jeffrey Lurie
John Bard Manulis
John P. Marsh
|Written by||Joyce Carol Oates
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Cinematography||Newton Thomas Sigel|
|Edited by||Louise Innes|
|Distributed by||The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
Foxfire is a 1996 film based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. It examines the coming of age of four high school girls who meet up with a mysterious and beautiful drifter.
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Foxfire is narrated by Maddie Wirtz, a high school senior living a rather normal life in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Maddie is in control of her life, with a boyfriend, as well as plans to go to art school. One day in science class, the students are watching the teacher Mr. Buttinger try to make Rita Faldes dissect a frog. A mysterious and beautiful leather jacket-clad "new student" stands up to Mr. Buttinger and releases Rita's frog. When Mr. Buttinger sentences them both to detention, the drifter reveals that she's not a new student after all and escapes through the same window as the frog.
Later, in the girls' restroom, the drifter and some other girls are listening to Rita describe Mr. Buttinger's untoward advances. When the drifter says the only way to stop the teacher is to stick together, the only girls to stay are Rita, Violet and Maddie. When detention time comes, Mr. Buttinger indeed begins his advances toward Rita, but is startled by Violet's entry. When Maddie and the drifter come in soon after, he realizes the situation is becoming serious. The girls confront the teacher about his abuse and they become involved in a physical altercation, which ends when the ordinarily shy Rita slams his face against a lab bench and tells him "if you ever put your hands on me again, I'm gonna snip your little nuts off with my toenail clippers." At this point Goldie Goldberg walks in, and joins the assault by declaring "this is great; Buttinger is such a fuck." The girls run from the school and then decide to go home.
At Maddie's house, Maddie is surprised by a knock at the window, which turns out to be the stranger from the earlier assault, there to return Maddie's dropped address book. The girl tells Maddie she's a drifter who got kicked out of school "for thinking for herself." Maddie agrees to let her sleep on the floor. The next morning, Maddie catches up with the girl on a bridge. The girl tells Maddie her name is "Legs" and brings Maddie's art supplies up onto the bridge. Maddie, who is afraid of heights, can't join her. A truck startles Legs, who drops the art portfolio over the edge of the bridge. Legs climbs over the edge of the bridge to retrieve the bag, which deeply impresses Maddie. As they part, Maddie tells Legs of an abandoned house up the river where Legs could stay.
At school, the girls are called in to the principal's office, where their claims of sexual harassment fall on deaf ears and they are suspended for three weeks. The girls are escorted off campus and Maddie is not allowed to retrieve her art school portfolio. Instead of going home with the news of their suspension, they all decide to go to the abandoned house up the river. There they meet Legs, who suggests they break into the school to get Maddie's portfolio.
The girls sneak into the high school through a vent and go into the art room. While the other girls are busy collecting Maddie's work, Goldie is put off by an unflattering Polaroid and moves into a side room to smoke a joint. She throws her match into a pile of oily rags, starting a fire and setting off the sprinklers. The girls have to escape the police who come to investigate and eventually reconvene at the house.
Back at the house, Legs decides to commemorate the night by giving herself a tattoo of a flame on her breast. One by one, the other girls ask Legs to give them the same tattoo.
This act dictates the final bond that ties the girls together. However, things start to go terribly wrong. First, Maddie is threatened by a group of jocks who dislike the idea of the girls reporting their abusive teacher, since he is also the coach of their football team.
During an attempt to "teach her" a lesson, she is rescued by the rest of the group and they steal Dana's (the main bully) car, with Legs driving. Eventually, after running into some cops on patrol, they continue their run after Legs refuses to stop, leading to an accident which in turn leads to Legs being put in a correctional facility. The girls continue on, but aren't as close-knit anymore.
Goldie gives in to the pressure and runs away from home. Maddie somehow finds her and brings her back to the abandoned house. After Legs gets out, she returns to the "hang out" and is shocked to see Goldie's state. She, together with Maddie, go to Goldie's (adoptive) parents home, demanding 10 grand for rehabilitation purposes for Goldie. When her father refuses, Legs threatens him with his own gun and takes him hostage in the house, where they tie him to a chair and pressure him for the money.
Goldie, oblivious to this, is startled to see her dad and calls out to him in surprise. This however, surprises Rita, who accidentally shoots Goldie's father in the chest. Chaos ensues, but the girls keep calm and decide to take him to the hospital. Rita drives the others, while Maddie and Legs stay back.
The scene toward the end of the film centers around Legs and her relationship with Maddie. Legs is done with her current circumstances and surroundings and is shown walking the highway again, looking for a ride. It is this same highway upon where Maddie almost lost her art portfolio. Maddie finds Legs and calls out to her in an attempt to make her stay. Legs is hesitant, but holds to her decision to leave. Upon Maddie's disappointment, Legs asks her to come along. After thinking for a while about her future, Maddie decides to stay but assures Legs that she will never forget her. Legs, hopeful that Maddie will choose to come along, is slightly overwhelmed, but understands and reciprocates, by telling Maddie she will always be in her heart.
As Legs boards a truck that stopped, Maddie watches it disappear down the road and walks over to climb the bridge (in the same way that Legs did, thus conquering her fear of heights. In a voice-over, we hear that Maddie has graduated high school, gotten accepted into art school, and traveled half way around the world, stopping at airports and bus stops along the way. She has not seen Legs again, but she meets the others once in a while and they get together to reminisce about the past.
|Hedy Burress||Madeline "Maddie" Wirtz|
|Angelina Jolie||Margaret "Legs" Sadovsky|
|Jenny Lewis||Rita Faldes|
|Jenny Shimizu||"Goldie" Goldberg|
|Sarah Rosenberg||Violet Kahn|
|Peter Facinelli||Ethan Bixby|
|Richard Beymer||Mr. Parks|