Today’s raw disappointment is brought to you by Laurent Cantet’s representation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel Foxfire : Confessions of a Girl Gang. Centred around a group of rebellious fifteen year-old girls in suburban northern New York who start off calling out all of the disgusting perverts in their neighbourhood and then somehow find themselves luring men into places where they can rob them. Shit gets really fucked up along the line and you never really know why. Whether that is intentional or not I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Cantet previously directed The Class (2008) which was apparently awesome since it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes but I find it hard to believe since this is, to put it frankly, a pile of wishy-washy drivel. I guess we all have our off days though… am I right?!
I think the weakest part of the film is the representation of the relationship between all of the girls. Which is pretty g-darn detrimental to the film considering it’s basically an overdramatic exploration of the ideas of rebellion and sisterhood. I felt no sense of sisterhood at all; only the way a middle-aged man imagines teenaged girls to behave. Friendship that is supposed to be that strong cannot simply be expressed through a montage of painting walls or forced girlish squealing as they pour alcohol over their freshly self-made tattoos. The characters are shoved into tightly sealed boxes of feminine stereotypes: the brazen rebellious leader (preferred sexuality: asexual or lesbian plz), the insecure brain on legs, the “I’M FAT AND ANGRY” one, the promiscuous vixen who just wants boiz, the pretty bait, and the one who is so boring I can’t even be bothered thinking of a label (ie is there purely for these other tools to interact with on occasion). It’s especially disappointing when it’s so blatantly obvious how great this film could have been. I didn’t care about any of these girls, because Cantet never gave me a genuine reason to. I felt protective over my femininity when these girls were threatened, but they seemed more like personifications of the cautionary tales you tell girls in high school than any three-dimensional human being that Cantet may have been hoping to achieve.
For me, this is one of those times where I think “gee, I wonder what this film would have been like if it had been directed by someone else”. And yes, in this case, I do wholeheartedly believe that this film would have been better if it were directed by a woman. Just like I would never attempt to direct Stand By Me, because I have no idea of what it’s like to be a pre-pubescent boy. Also I’m pretty sure someone has already directed it.
Anyway, I’m off to lure a man into an alleyway so me and my friends can beat him up and steal all of his money, because SISTERHOOD.