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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Directed by Adrian Lyne
MGM Home Entertainment 02/80 DVD/VHS Feature Film

She's a twentieth century fox.
Got the world
Locked up
Inside a plastic box;

She's a twentieth century fox.
            — from "20th Century Fox" by The Doors

For many people the American Dream consists of having their children grow up in a pleasant suburb, experience initiation into adulthood via the discipline of a summer job, attend a good college where they can get a degree, and later settle down and raise a family of their own. However, in recent years that scenario has been shattered by youth who don't like suburbia, who initiate themselves into adulthood via casual sex or drugs at the age of 12 or 13, and who define family as a place where no one is satisfied.

The four teenage girls of Foxes have grown up very quickly in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. None of them get along with their parents and they use the bedroom of Jeanie (Jodie Foster) as a crash-pad. She lives with her mother (Sally Kellerman) who at the age of 40 is studying for her college degree. Jeanie's father (Adam Faith) is a rock impresario who has left home and lives mainly on the road.

These "foxes" have grown up feeling that their parents do not regard them as sources of pleasure and as a result they have become emotionless zombies who numb themselves through drugs or seek instant gratification via casual sex. Annie (Cherie Currie) has run away from a violent father and a catatonic mother. She pops pills and sleeps around. Deidre (Kandice Stroh) betrays her boyfriend and asks a handsome grocery clerk out for a date. And Madge (Marilyn Kagan) throws herself at Jay (Randy Quaid), an older man, in order to get "devirginized."

Jeanie senses their shared misfortune and tries to make them her family. During an afternoon with a friend (Scott Baio), she notes, "No one wants to feel the pain in things anymore." And she is right. Nearly everyone in the movie is unwilling to deal with their anger, frustration, and fear. The pursuit of happiness becomes a desperate ritual. While Jay is away, the four girls throw a party at his place for four boys. Before they know what is happening, the apartment is overflowing with uninvited guests. A brawl ensues and the place is demolished. Jay returns and expresses his antagonism for youth. Jeanie's mother echoes his sentiments.

Foxes is a very depressing movie which ends on a bleak note. One wonders what is left for these teenagers since they've burned themselves out at such an early age. Jodie Foster gives the best performance of her career as Annie, the most thoroughly confused fox of the group. Their flights from emotion have made them exiles from the American Dream.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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