Poison Ivy (1992) Poster


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  • Wealthy but lonely, friendless, and misanthropic teen Sylvie Cooper (Sara Gilbert) makes friends with poor, trashy but street-smart "Ivy" (Drew Barrymore), so named because of a tattoo on her leg, who is attending Sylvie's exclusive high school on a scholarship. Before long, Ivy moves into Sylvie's house, befriends her sickly mother Georgie (Cheryl Ladd), and seduces her father Darryl (Tom Skerritt).

  • Poison Ivy is based on a screenplay by director Katt Shea Rubin and her husband Andy, also producer. They based their script on an idea by screenwriters Melissa Goddard and Peter Morgan. The movie has inspired three sequels: Poison Ivy II (1996) (1996), Poison Ivy: The New Seduction (1997) (1997), and Poison Ivy: The Secret Society (2008) (2008).

  • Leonardo DiCaprio is credited as "Guy" in the cast listing. DeCaprio was about 17 or 18 years old when this movie was filmed, so the likelihood is that he played one of Sylvie's school mates. Barring him being in a scene that was edited from the movie, the only two scenes in which Sylvie's school mates appear are (1) as the students run to see the dog that got hit by a car, and (2) as the students pour out of the school when Sylvie's father shows up to pick up her up. If DiCaprio is in either of those scenes, he is extremely hard to spot, as none of these students have closeups. Some viewers think they see him as the boy wearing a green-striped shirt as he comes out of the school. Others believe he is one of the boys in the scene with the dog. Still others think they see DiCaprio as the boy who takes the rope from Sylvie so that he and his girl friend can go swinging together.

  • ...Sylvie is riding in the back of the truck: Let it Go by Dan Reed

    ...Sylvie is contemplating using the swing: The Salt of Joy by Dan Reed

  • Georgie had emphysema at age 38, presumably because of years of cigarette smoking, evidenced by her advice to Sylvie, (You can be a lesbian, just don't smoke) and the huge number of cigarette butts that Sylvie vacuumed from her mom's ashtray when she was cleaning her car.

  • Emphysema is a condition in which the walls in the lung's alveoli (air sacs) lose their ability to stretch and recoil, impairing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Symptoms of emphysema include shortness of breath, cough, and limited exercise tolerance.

  • So far, no one in the know is talking. Some viewers have suggested that Barrymore used a double in the scenes that involved nudity or sex. This has not been confirmed. Jaime Pressly has been named as her double, but Pressly was two years younger than Barrymore at the time (Barrymore born in 1975, and Pressly born in 1977), so this is unlikely. In fact, Pressly has denied being Barrymore's double, although she has admitted to being Ivy's double in Poison Ivy II. Other viewers point out that Barrymore was emancipated at the time, so she was considered to be an adult, regardless of her age. Still others point out that federal law regards child pornography as visual depiction of minors engaged in a sex act such as intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, or lascivious depictions of the genitals, none of which take place in Poison Ivy. Until we hear from the powers-that-be as to how they were able to star a minor in the role of Ivy, any explanations are simply conjecture.

  • Not to the viewers. Sylvie came up with the name "Ivy" based on a tattoo on Ivy's leg that depicts a crucifix covered with ivy, and Ivy stuck with it because she felt that it gave her "a chance to start over."

  • Sylvie sneaks out of the hospital and thumbs a ride home where she walks in on Ivy and her dad making love. Horrified, Sylvie runs back out in the rain. Her dad tries to follow, but slips on the wet pavement and injures his back on the stairs. Ivy slips on a raincoat and goes out to him, offering to go after Sylvie, but Darryl notices the bruise from the steering wheel on her chest and realizes that Sylvie was telling the truth when she said that Ivy was driving Georgie's Corvette when it crashed into the tree. While Darryl goes looking for Sylvie, Ivy goes up to Georgie's room, slips on her robe, and walks out on the balcony. Hiding in the garden, Sylvie sees Ivy on the balcony and, in her dazed state, thinks it's her mother. She runs up to Georgie's room to kiss her and tell her that she loves her but realizes that it's Ivy. Finally understanding that it was Ivy who killed Georgie, Sylvie pushes her away, causing Ivy to fall off the balcony. Ivy grabs onto Sylvie's necklace to break her fall, but the chain breaks, sending Ivy to her death below. In a voiceover, Sylvie says, "I still think of her. I guess I still love her. She may have been more alone than I was. I miss her." Whether Sylvie is referring to Ivy or to Georgie is unclear.

  • When it comes to movies about a woman who does whatever she must to get what she wants, number one on the list is Body Heat (1981) (1981). Even the music is similar. Also recommended are Basic Instinct (1992) (1992) and Fatal Attraction (1987) (1987) which, again, feature seductive and conniving women who will stop at nothing to get what they want. There is also Wicked (1998) (1998), in which a girl attempts to take over the role of lover to her father after killing her mother.

  • As expected, the erotic scenes were censored in the R-rated version, but there were also other changes made. The film only exists to lure in some audience who were driven by voyeurism with drawing card Drew Barrymore anyway, so the R-rated version misses any raison d'être due to the erotic scenes having been cut.


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