Friday, February 10, 2006

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Stephen Schiff

“Kristy McNichol gives Little Darlings a certain luster, too [for Schiff, like Walter Matthau in Little Miss Marker.] Slim and serious, with an air of questing intelligence, she's grown into an actress of remarkable range. McNichol's performance seems to be taking place behind her face, in the place where inchoate thoughts and feelings brew. We seem to know what she's thinking before she does, before the emotions touch her features, ant that gives us a sense of intimacy with her. It also makes her a perfect embodiment of that vague, trembly, unformed condition known as adolescence. In Little Darlings, Mc Nichol peers into the maw of sexuality, and we sense the ferocious churning inside her. But the movie has its own designs, and her searching portrayal doesn't quite fit into them.

“…. [W]atching a third-rate spring-exploitation film exploit the singular talents of Kristy McNichol leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth--a taste not even the robins and crocuses can erase.”

Stephen Schiff
Boston Phoenix, April 1, 1980

David Denby

“Little Darlings is a slick, whory, irresistibly entertaining movie with some scenes of surprising power at the end. Yet it starts so badly you may want to walk out. Here is Kristy McNichol (from the TV series Family), still in her teens and already one of the best actresses in the business, walking down a mangy street in her dungaree jacket, with a Marlboro dangling from her lips and a sour, disaffected look on her face. She is Angel, a tough city kid, and just this side of cliché. A young punk makes an obscene gesture; she turns to face him, draws back her leg, and kicks him in the groin. That kick (the audience goes "Whoo!") is exactly the kind of cheap character tag provided by writers and directors who want to be gritty and daring but don't know how….

“…. [Matt Dillon] makes a provocative match-up for Kristy McNichol, who gives Angel a sullen intelligence. McNichol, who uses her big jaw and flashing eyes like Sally Field, makes you feel everything that tense, unhappy Angel is going through. Way ahead of Randy in brains, Angel is mortified at the thought that she may be behind him sexually. Pressured by the other girls and her own pride, she has to act out the role of cool chick, just as he has to act out the role of surly stud; their scenes together turn poignant when they realize that neither is up to the role.

“Suddenly,… we have a completely different movie--a sensitive, almost exquisite rendering of the adolescent dilemmas, the uncertainty and suffering, that even the most self-confident kids must go through…. Anguished, her face crumpling, Kristy McNichol gives memorable expression to the humiliation of first sex: "God, it was so personal--like you could see right through me." This is a great moment, and you want the power of it to last, but the filmmakers return to sitcom wackiness for the wrap-up, so they may not be aware of what they have accomplished. At least for a while, in Kristy McNichol's terrible loneliness, they show us how even the youngest lovers can hurt each other.”

David Denby
New York, April 7, 1980

Thursday, February 10, 2005