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The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

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France, Canada, Switzerland · 1976
Rated PG · 1h 31m
Director Nicolas Gessner
Starring Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman
Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Quiet, withdrawn 13-year-old Rynn Jacobs lives alone in a New England beach town. Whenever the landlady inquires after Rynn's father, she politely claims that he's in town on business. But when the landlady's persistent son, Frank, won't leave Rynn alone, she teams up with kindly neighbor boy Mario to maintain the dark family secret that she's been keeping to herself.

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Variety by

This film, about a homicidal orphan girl, is farfetched nonsense with precious little to appease shriek freaks. Laird Koenig's screenplay from his novel is riddled with unsuspended disbelief - coincidences, gimmicks.


Washington Post by Gary Arnold

While it's too pat, Little Girl is several cuts above thrillers in the dopey, bedraggled class recently exemplified by Burnt Offerings and The Sentinel. [17 May 1977, p.B9]


The New York Times by Janet Maslin

Nicolas Gessner's direction has a correspondingly comfortable feel, but this type of story is as old as the hills—no, older—and Mr. Gessner doesn't do much to make it plausible.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

Gessner’s film may be for Foster completists only. But the intensity of her dead-eyed stare as the final credits scroll across her face reminds us of her preternatural ability, as a kid and beyond, to transform even the most negligible movie or scene into an event.

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