Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

(French Canadian, 1976)

If Jodie Foster has ever played the part of a ditsy blonde during her career, I’m not aware of it, and I’d expect it to be the worst bit of miscasting in the history of cinema. There is just something about the girl, and then the woman, that radiates smarts. And of course it’s not an illusion; she speaks fluent French and can get by in German, Spanish, and Italian, and took time off from acting to get a magna cum laude degree in literature from Yale! So she was the perfect girl to play Rynn Jacobs, a fourteen-year-old who is living alone and trying to conceal from a whole town the fact that her father is no longer among the living. (She actually was fourteen when this was made.) Her main problems are the bitch of a real estate agent (Alexis Smith) who constantly invades her privacy, and her pedophile son, played very creepily by Martin Sheen. Her only allies in town are a cop who knows what a slimeball the son is, and a crippled young magician (Scott Jacoby). The revelations and the tension mount slowly, and every moment is a delight. I won’t say any more about the plot, not even with a spoiler warning, because you really should see this one cold. I can practically guarantee you will be delighted. All I will say is, you do not want to fuck with this little girl. She will out-think you and hand you your head on a platter.