The beginning of the decade brought a teen flick to the screen, a battle between girls to lose IT.
Showcasing two of the A list young stars of the time – Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol Little Darlings (Don’t Let the Title Fool You) was the teen movie of the summer of 1980.
Two 15 year olds sent to summer camp decide to make a bet – to see who can lose their virginity first.
O’Neal played Ferris, a romantic, idealistic rich girl who wants to be swept off her feet by the camp counsellor, Gary, played by Armand Assante.
McNichol played Angel, a streetwise tough girl whose facade is melted by bad boy Randy, who wants to help her win her bet. Both girls realize sex isn’t an easy proposition and learn a lot about the next step of becoming adults.
Peppered with the usual distration of pranks and food fights, Little Darlings was a film that as Roger Ebert said “somehow does succeed in treating the awesome and scary subject of sexual initiation with some of the dignity it deserves.”
I did get to see this film when it was released – thanks to a sleepover at a friend’s house and a bit of sneaking around at the movie theatre. And which team was I on? Team Angel!
I revelled in seeing these cool teens divide into teams to support Ferris and Angels’ bet and dealing with their emotions dealing with their outer facades and inner conflicts. One of the teens in the film is played by Cynthia Nixon, now know for her role as Miranda Hobbs in Sex in the City.
The film was edited for a television release – removing all references to sex and giving the impression that the characters were just trying to make a guy fall in love with them. Deleted scenes from the movie were used in the television film to extend the scenes.
Little Darlings was also a vehicle for contemporary music, with a soundtrack made up of cutting edge songs from Blondie, Rickie Lee Jones, Supertramp, The Bellamy Brothers and John Lennon.
Despite its brief blip on the pop culture scale, Little Darlings made an impression on me (and I’m sure many other young girls) with the focus on sexuality and its message to young women that sex and love are both important.