Cinema: The New Waif

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE

Directed by Nicolas Gessner

Screenplay by Laird Koenig

Other generations had Shirley Temple and Natalie Wood for their child stars. We have Tatum O'Neal and Jodie Foster—precocious hoydens who are made not of sugar and spice but of nicotine stains and wisecracks. The 14-year-old Foster flaunts her chipped front tooth as an emblem of contemporary authenticity, like Barbra Streisand's unreconstructed nose. The roles that have carried her into our consciousness, if not our hearts, are far from the eye-rolling Daddy's delights of yesteryear. She played the runaway child prostitute in Taxi Driver and now, in...

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