Written and Directed by Laurent Cantet
Starring Raven Adamson, Kate Coseni and Madeline Bisson
Father Theriault: Happiness is a journey, not a goal, but we don’t realize it while it’s happening.
When I saw Laurent Cantet’s Oscar-nominated film, THE CLASS, I was shocked at how natural everything seemed, at how real everything felt. At times, I would forget that I was watching a work of fiction even. So I was very surprised when I saw Cantet’s latest film, FOXFIRE: CONFESSIONS OF A GIRL GANG, to see that the tone felt so forced, so false. The film finds its own charms eventually but it is a far cry from what I was hoping for in his follow-up.
FOXFIRE is adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel and refers specifically to an all-girl gang. These particular girls, led by Leggs (Raven Adamson) and chronicled by Maddy (Kate Coseni), start out with five and grow from there, in this tiny New York town, in 1955. The girls in this town are subjected to everything from ridicule to rape. The boys, young and old, pretty much treat them however they like because they’re girls and they would certainly never fight back. But that is exactly what they do and once they get a taste of it, they just want more and more.
It isn’t that I don’t think the girls have the right to fight back, but rather that Cantet never truly gives them a personal reason to, other than the general mood around town toward them. With motivations blurred, eventually it just collapses into girls behaving badly, and sadly none of these girls have the real chops to take us deep enough to reveal the real reason for their behaviour.