I loved, and still love this movie. When it came out, I was 12, and living a rather sheltered existence in Sacramento, which was very much like a Northern Californian version of the SoCal's "The Valley".
This movie does a very realistic job of portraying how different things were for teenagers back in that era. Today's teens have been raised by parents who've bought into the idea that they need to be around their kids 24/7--the whole attachment parenting thing. Young kids spend most of their time around their adult parents, and if they do hang out with other kids, they are highly supervised "play dates". They grow into teens who may have some online freedom, but most likely are regimented into structured "programs"--lessons, classes, teams or clubs with high degrees of adult supervision. Parents often try their hardest to be seen as "friends", with the hope that their teen will share every little last thing about their lives, so different from the generation gap I recall in the late 70s/early 80s when I was that age.
And these parents have very little of an adult life outside of their precious darlings-- so unlike what I recall of my parents and their large circle of friends with their frequent dinner parties and kid-free vacations and camping trips. Today's parent would have a guilt trip of epic proportions if it was even suggested that they spend adult time away from the kiddies.
They might just be turned in to CPS if they allowed their teenagers to have even the tiniest amount of freedom as the 4 "Foxes" did in this thoughtful and revealing movie. Teenage girls aimlessly driving around, taking buses by themselves down to Hollywood, and having a much older boyfriend with a cool adults-not-welcome party pad would simply never happen in today's helicopter-parented middle classes.
My teenage years in the early 80s weren't quite as free as these girls had it, but I remember endless nights spent driving around in a car full of friends with a "suitcase" of cheap Shafer beer, often ending up at the party house belonging to a bunch of 20- something guys--with nary a parent in sight, and no constant texting or calling ones' parents every hour. There was plenty of beer and pot, and lots of kids were having sexual relationships. And yet somehow we all made it--my group of pals all went to university; no one got arrested, addicted or pregnant.
Kids like Annie who overdid it were around--though not many suffered the same extreme fate as Cheri Currie's character did. Ironically, Annie was the one with the MOST parental involvement, albeit an abusive authoritarian jerk of a father, and yet she has the toughest road to follow.
Jodie Foster is, unsurprisingly, excellent, playing yet another smart, capable and sophisticated-beyond-her-years teen, unflinchingly blasé about sex, booze, and 'ludes until she needs to be emotional about Annie's behavior that is getting her closer and closer to being involuntarily committed to a mental ward. Foster's sheer intelligence is so evident even in those early years; it's no surprise to me that she became such a huge success, and so well-respected for the depth and excellence of both her acting and directing.
I really do love this movie, but boy howdy does it highlight how much society has changed in regards to its views of childhood, teenagerdom, and adults' roles. I must admit that I'm rather nostalgic for those freer times when there was more of a healthy boundary between teenagers and their parents position in their lives. "Foxes" is a stylish yet very realistic look at Valley girls before they were "Valley Girls".