Sunday, March 26, 2006

Little Darlings

This coming of age tale has everything you would expect from a movie about summer camp food fights, smoking in the bathroom, rivals from opposite sides of the tracks, and wagers as to who can lose their virginity before summers end. Well, almost.

Angel (Kristy McNicol) is a streetwise girl who is determined to not let the name fool anyone; she is constantly at odds with Ferris (Tatum O’Neal – Pre-drugs and John McEnroe) an upper class, well-traveled debutante. Of course the girls share a cabin with a rag tag group of campers (including a young Cynthia Nixon from Sex in the City.) One rainy day the girls are talking about boys and decide to live vicariously through the two girls and make a bet as to who will lose their virginity first. The girls accept the wager and the cabin follows suit by choosing sides. Angel sets her sights quickly on a heartthrob from the rival boys camp across the lake, ironically named Randy (a young Matt Dillon.) While Ferris’ affections find an older man, Gary a councilor at camp (Armand Assante.)

Ferris’ advances become inappropriate and as the summer goes on stories about her relationship with Gary spread and become exaggerated as her various bunkmates become obsessed with the possibilities. Ferris is questioned about the validity of the stories –and Gary faces termination, she eventually admits it was all a lie.

On the other hand Angel and Randy’s relationship escalates quickly and on one rainy day they sneak off to a boat house and carry out her side of the bet. The whole experience is so unloving and traumatic that she denies anything happened. Neither girl wins the bet.

Angel and Ferris are ostracized from the rest of camp for the remaining weeks and bond with each other. Angel concedes that Ferris may have been right all along and sex should be saved for someone you love. They both decide that winning a contest is not enough motivation to make such an “adult decision.”

This film is unique because I think it’s the first time young girls are portrayed in the same manner as young boys are, interested in sex. Both girls are constantly lying to each other and their fellow campmates, and the lies almost get Gary fired or even arrested. They see how their actions do affect other people’s lives. I recommend this film, since many people I’ve talked to had never heard of it, both lead actresses give great performances and it may be worth renting just to see what Matt Dillon looked like before he had veneers.

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

Oh no you didn't--
Now you have really done it--
Chosing Little Darlings, the first R rated film that I desperately wanted to see, when I was of pre-R age.

(Of course I also wanted to see National Lampoon's Animal House, but I wanted to see it for the food fight scene and not for the other stuff--it was only later that I realized why the film was R rated.)

But back to Little Darlings--it featured two of my hugest, HUGEST crushes--Kristy McNichol, but who didn't have a crush on her from the television show FAMILY, and Taum O'Neal, pre John McEnroe, pre drugs, pre losing custody of her children. What a pairing. I did finally see it on cable the next year and I was a little disappointed because I thought the R rating would be a bit more sexy, but it was only for language and subject matter than anything else.

Still, summer camp movies were big at this time--as demonstrated by the grand success of MEATBALLS, the all time best movie ever made.