I recently re-watched an old favorite, Little Darlings, on a plane trip.
Don’t be fooled: I know it looks like your regular run-of-the-mill 1980s summer camp movie. But Little Darlings is a bit different. Yes, it’s all braids and bubblegum and brattiness, but it also cracks the hard outer shell of a tough girl and exposes the fears of an insecure one.
The girls here look like real girls—they’re not disturbingly plastic and color-coated as they are in today’s teen movies. I love how, over the course of the film, their style becomes more and more experimental: complex hair, too-bright makeup, and clothes that swing somewhere between “little girl” and “80s mom”. It literally looks like these girls have been sitting around in their camp cabin, playing with each others’ hair and makeup. It’s a nice touch.
You also get to see a baby-faced Cynthia Nixon and a baby-faced Matt Dillon. The movie is sweet and nostalgic, with both wide-eyed naïvety and lip gloss-covered bravery.
A hidden gem of the early 1980s.