director Martha Coolidge
This viewing of Valley Girl was precipitated by my son, who has known that the 1983 comedy/romance is an unlikely but long-time favorite of mine. Oddly enough, he and my 12 year old daughter liked the movie pretty well.
I’ve seen this movie lots and lots of times, but not for about 8 years. It’s such an old friend. I’ve written before about how well the characters work, not just stars Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman but how good Elizabeth Daily, Michael Bowen, Cameron Dye, Frederic Forrest, Colleen Camp and Heidi Hollicker all are, how the romance works amid the rather broad strokes depiction of “punks” and “Vals” overall.
And the soundtrack is just great. Those Rhino CD’s are well worth checking out. Always love me some Plimsouls and Josie Cotton.
This time through I was struck how the film, while not feminist per se, does tell a story that is perhaps more centralized around our lead Valley Girl, Foreman, her world, her perspective, and the perspectives of the girls in her clique. Suzi is empowered by sex, while Loryn is perhaps used by boys for her sex, something of which she is aware. It’s only Stacey who remains typically stereotypical about romance who is left covered in food sludge at the end. The hero is a romantic guy, who really loves her and is willing to show it and do creative things to win her interest. And while it comes down to a fist-fight, there are aspects of the film that are more positive toward women if not fully feminist.
I did field a number of questions about whether that was how people actually dressed back then. Yes. And no.