Poison Ivy

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Although marketed as a 'home invasion' thriller in the Single White Female vein - teenage nymphette Ivy (Barrymore) wreaks havoc in the home of rich kid Cooper (Gilbert) by seducing her ex-alcoholic father (Skerritt), supplanting her ailing mother (Ladd), and generally ruining Coop's life - there is more to Poison Ivy than meets the eye. Distanced from the over-heated emotions and events by Coop's naive voice-over narration ('I guess you have to give up certain things when you take on a friendship'), we witness much of what happens at one remove. In this and other ways, Ruben subverts the salacious subject matter, while exploring the dangerously ambiguous relationship between anarchic wild child Ivy and emotionally neglected rich kid Coop (an understated, moody performance from Gilbert). Its willingness to take risks, and its insights into the frailties and confusions of teenage friendships ('She might have been lonelier than I was', reflects Coop at the end), lift the film right out of the rut.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Katt Shea Ruben
Screenwriter: Andy Ruben, Katt Shea Ruben
Cast: Drew Barrymore
Sara Gilbert
Tom Skerritt
Cheryl Ladd
Leonardo Di Caprio
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