The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides
Directed: Sofia Coppola
Genre: Drama, Mystery
A group of male friends become obsessed with a group of mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents after one of them commits suicide.
Sisters of the macabre
* The Virgin Suicides **** (out of 5) CHELSE Swain, Kirsten Dunst, Leslie Hayman and A.J. Cook star as the Lisbon sisters in Sofia Coppola's screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides.
By Julie Crawford
FOLLOWING her disastrous acting debut in The Godfather III, Sofia Coppola redeems herself tenfold with her sophisticated directorial outing, The Virgin Suicides.
The film pays homage to the Lisbon sisters, five ethereal beauties who capture the imagination of the neighbourhood's teenage boys, a fascination that lives on decades after the girls' untimely deaths.
A less delicate treatment of Jeffrey Eugenides' novel could have resulted in little more than raging hormones and heavy-handed teen angst. Coppola manages to blend flashbacks, fantasy and reality so seamlessly that it doesn't really matter which is which.
The girls are played by Kirsten Dunst, Hanna Hall, Chelse Swain, A.J. Cook and Leslie Hayman. Kathleen Turner and James Woods are the parents who, if they don't drive their daughters to suicide, definitely pay their cab fare.
Dunst as Lux is the most overtly rebellious of the sisters. The most poignant moments of the film revolve around her slow and piteous downfall: from when the school heartthrob (another scene-stealer, Josh Hartnett) claims her virginity only to leave her abandoned on the football field, to Lux's pathetic rooftop rendezvous with burger boys, in an attempt to feel any kind of love.
There are definite holes in the plot, and the action, low-key as it is, sags in places. Yet the fabric of the narrative remains intact.
Movies and TV shows set in the '70s have reached pandemic proportions, but The Virgin Suicides outshines its contemporaries when it comes to an almost fanatical attention to detail. It has a lazy, sunshiney, Breck shampoo commercial feel to it, getting virtually everything about the decade right.Kudos to Coppola for giving up the acting gig and not being too intimidated to follow in some very big paternal footsteps.