Vamps, Flirts, Vixens, & Tramps
By IFC News’ Andrea Meyer

Whatever you call them, it’s hard to ignore the teenage girls, virtually dripping with sexuality they’re not sure how to handle, all over the movies this summer. Those long, lanky limbs aren’t just wriggling their way into magical “Traveling Pants,” either. They are wrapping themselves around the wrong kinds of boys (and girls), jutting out from the skinny hips of little princesses in the throes of adolescent crises, and drawing all sorts of attention to themselves.

Unlike the lollipop-sucking Lolitas of Hollywood past, the young lovelies who populate the indies are anything but naïve; like the teenagers sauntering through real life, they are sexy, sexually curious and either having sex or dying to get started. In Miranda July’s “Me and You and Everyone We Know” (in theaters June 17), Heather (Natasha Slayon) and Rebecca (Najarra Townsend) are bored Los Angelinas craving firsthand carnal experience. With hormones raging and no boyfriends to speak of, the girlfriends—armed with mini-skirts and lipgloss—locate two safe romantic targets: a goofy older man—who plays along initially, only to become terrified later by their aggressive advances—and Peter, the new kid on the block, whom the girls deem the perfect, non-threatening guinea pig for practicing some rather adult skills.

The precocious beauties in Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Summer of Love” (June 17), played by buzzed-about British newcomers Natalie Press and Emily Blunt, find that the safest way to satisfy a flurry of unfamiliar and unbridled emotions is to just go for it—with each other. New soul mates Mona (Press) and Tamsin (Blunt) are so enraptured by each other that they assign romantic intent to their frenzied affections, falling into hours and days full of fervent kisses and steamier activities. While Mona has had sex, with a gruff married jerk, now she flings herself into a relationship more intimate than anything she’s imagined. Whether equally impassioned or satisfying mere girlish curiosity, Tamsin returns her friend’s ardor, and the pair find themselves embroiled in a love affair so powerful, it makes them bold in other areas of life and becomes the catalyst for a tremendous emotional growth spurt.

Lila, the angel-faced 16-year-old at the center of Ziad Doueiri’s “Lila Says” (July 1) is a piece of work. When she develops a crush on Chimo (Mohammed Khouas), a boy from her new, predominantly Arab neighborhood in Marseilles, she doesn’t bat her eyelashes or pretend to drop a handkerchief. This audacious coquette, played by French bombshell Vahina Giocante, skips the first flush of innocent flirtation and asks the smitten Chimo to look up her skirt. Despite the thrill of her explicit words and bold sensuality, their relationship maintains a sweetness that is misinterpreted by a world that can’t understand the innocence driving their affection, a world in which provocation is an aggressive act that must be punished.  

Lila, with her flirtatious looks and lusty language, becomes instantly known as the town slut. If she’d grown up in Venice Beach, however, she’d be just another one of the posse. The young hussies, led by Nikki Reed, in Catherine Hardwicke’s “Lords of Dogtown” (in theaters now) grow up as fast as their boyfriends whoosh around on their skateboards. Where the young women of the other three films are high on the titillating possibilities of future love and sex, these jaded city girls have done it all. They don’t deign to blush when a lanky, long-haired surfer dude checks them out; they lock eyes, pout provocatively and make a date to lock lips later that night—knowing exactly where a grown-up kiss might lead them.