Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang
An adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ feminist novel Foxfire might seem like an unlikely choice for Laurent Cantet, but the material actually feels like a continuation of themes he explored in his Palme d’Or winner The Class. Both films depict a group of teenagers rebelling against authority, testing their own boundaries and finding their place in the world. Cantet’s American debut doesn’t feel as fully formed, but it still has fleeting moments of power.
Cantet’s vision of 50s small-town America is loose but evocative, and the scenes in which his film’s girl gang takes revenge against the town’s menfolk are superbly handled. However, while Foxfire starts and finishes well, the film suffers from a dramatic lull in the centre of the picture that drains much of the story’s energy and momentum. Tighter editing could have elevated this from a respectable adaptation into something with an incisive edge, but at least it’s a better take on the book than the misguided 1996 version – and in the pivotal role of Legs, Raven Adamson is a real find. [Philip Concannon]