JIFF Review: Foxfire (2012) – Canada / France

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 19th May 2013

Directed by: Laurent Cantet
Starring: Michelle Nolden (Well to do lady), Ali Liebert (Muriel Orvis), Kent Nolan (Viscount), Joris Jarsky (Construction worker 1), Briony Glassco (Mrs. Kellogg), David Patrick Green (Jerry), John Stead (Policeman), Madeleine Bisson (Rita O’Hagan), Raven Adamson (Legs), Katie Coseni (Maddy), Ian Matthews (Mr. Buttinger), Matthew Deslippe (Det. Morris), Victoria DiGiovanni (Prison Singer), Joey Iachetta (Mr. Wall), Jean-Michel Le Gal (Male Co-Worker), Allie White (Passerby), Christian Lloyd (Prosecuting Officer), Claire Mazerolle (Goldie), Claudio Masciulli (Factory worker), Rachael Nyhuus (Violet Kahn), Lindsay Rolland-Mills (VV), Faith Curnew (Robot Trick-or-treater), Jesse Marcellus Connors (Vinnie Roper), Alexandra Parker (Party Girl 1), Alexandria Ferguson (Marsha)

Reviewed as part of the 14th Jeonju International Film Festival

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Opening Film of the 14th Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea.

The film that opened the 14th edition of the Jeonju Film Festival comes in the form of an exhausting and at times impacting journey through the lives of a bunch of neglected school girls in “FOXFIRE”. “FOXFIRE” has all the ingredients of being a standout film of the festival, but it suffers from an almost dead-ended middle part, before an impacting finale that almost redeem everything that happened before. Director Laurent Cantet does extremely well in keeping the group of girls as interesting as possible and one of the prime reasons why the film works is essentially the undeniably chemistry and interactions between the co-stars. This could have been an accomplished work, but it can also be an exhausting journey that may not be as rewarding as it should be. A flawed effort by all means, but still worthy in terms of the genre, topic and controversial nature of the material.

Raven Adamson carries the film with a certain flair and dignity that is almost crucial to the film. Her character is never clearly drawn out, but there is an element of presence about her that makes her perfect for the leading role. Her tom boyish good looks is charming enough as she is able to tackle the tough side of being the leader of the pack. Another actress that stand out of the proceeding is Madeleine Bisson, whose vulnerably is perfectly juxtaposed with the reality of the situation. As for the rest of the girls, they all performed well as an ensemble and the tension and focus between the girls is always a welcome to watch.

All in all, “FOXFIRE” tries too hard to be a true adaptation of the well-written novel, which at times make it difficult for the audience to truly assess the situation. The dragging middle part is almost detrimental to the film, but director Laurent Cantet redeems the preceding with an excellent last hour. It is never easy casting an ensemble of young untried female characters and in this aspect “FOXFIRE” easily succeeds. There are moments in the film that will likely impact the audience more than most and at the end of the day, “FOXFIRE” succeeds in parts and failed in others. Not exactly the masterpiece that I was expecting from the winner of 2008’s Cannes Palme d’Or. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7/10

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