Virgin Suicides

"Good"

Virgin Suicides Review


Whether it's a skill learned hanging around the sets ofher father's movies or something in the family blood, SofiaCoppola has definitely inherited a distinguishable talent as a filmmaker.

"The Virgin Suicides" -- her moody, dark andwhimsical first feature from behind the camera -- is a mesmerizing andaccomplished directorial debut about an enigmatic quintet of innocentlyseductive teenage sisters who all kill themselves in the course of onemonth in the mid-1970s.

The story was adapted by Coppola herself from a best-sellerby Jeffrey Eugenides, and is curiously told from the perspective of a handfulof neighborhood boys, smitten and spellbound by the girls as teenagersand still haunted by their inexplicable deaths 25 years later.

Wholesomely beautiful Kirsten Dunst ( "Dick," "DropDead Gorgeous"), an astoundingly unaffectedyoung actress with an intrinsic understanding of her sweetness and buddingsexuality, stars as Lux Libson, the middle sister whose quiet rebelliousstreak makes her the center of the boys' attention.

Just learning to test her temptressness, Lux is the kindof girl that teases as part of a giddy, grand experiment in her power overthe opposite sex. She's the leader of the pack when the sisters begin petitioningtheir strict, quirky parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner, both brilliant)for permission to attend their first ever school dance -- mostly becauseshe's already secured a date with the Trip Fontaine (love that name!),the school's GTO-driving rebel dreamboat played by Josh Hartnett ( "HereOn Earth").

(In a stroke of ingenious casting, Michael Pare -- theback-alley charmer from "Eddie and the Cruisers" and "Streetsof Fire" -- has a cameo as the grown-up Trip, reminiscing about beingbewitched by the Libson sisters.)

But when Lux loses her virginity that night and returnshome way past curfew (the next morning, in fact), their rigid mom and dadreact by pulling the girls out of school completely and locking them awayin the house as part of a misguided attempt to both punish and protect them.

Then, one by one, the sisters begin quietly succumbing to morose and overwhelming feelings of angst and eerie ennui with tragic results.

Coppola demonstrates a confident command of all the elementsof her medium, giving "Virgin Suicides" a consistently dream-likeambiance. She captures perfectly the fondness and bewilderment the girlsinspired in life and especially in death for these mesmerized boys thathave never forgotten them.

Visually, atmospherically, emotionally, she nails the factthat this story is being told as it was remembered, not necessarily asit really was. She deliberately does not depict discernible reasons forthe girls' suicides, yet through her focus on Lux, she paints an indelible,feminine portrait of them. This in addition to their role as enrapturing,idyllic objects of desire and conundrum in the eyes of the narrating boys.

If the movie has one obvious flaw, it is that Lux's sisters(played by Hanna Hall, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman and Chelse Swain, youngersibling of "Lolita"star Dominique Swain) amount to little more than extras. Coppola chosewisely to focus on only one Libson girl, but the others get so little screentime that they're utterly interchangeable.

Save that, the captivating, catchy and detail-oriented"Virgin Suicides" is one of the most promising directorial debutsin recent memory, with the ability to cast a spell I have yet to shakethree weeks after seeing the film. Whether it's a skill learned hangingaround the sets of her father's movies or something in the family blood,SofiaCoppola has definitely inherited a distinguishabletalent as a filmmaker.

"The Virgin Suicides" -- her moody, dark andwhimsical first feature from behind the camera -- is a mesmerizing andaccomplished directorial debut about an enigmatic quintet of innocentlyseductive teenage sisters who all kill themselves in the course of onemonth in the mid-1970s.

The story was adapted by Coppola herself from a best-sellerby Jeffrey Eugenides, and is curiously told from the perspective of a handfulof neighborhood boys, smitten and spellbound by the girls as teenagersand still haunted by their inexplicable deaths 25 years later.

Wholesomely beautiful Kirsten Dunst ("Dick,""DropDead Gorgeous"), an astoundingly unaffectedyoung actress with an intrinsic understanding of her sweetness and buddingsexuality, stars as Lux Libson, the middle sister whose quiet rebelliousstreak makes her the center of the boys' attention.

Just learning to test her temptressness, Lux is the kindof girl that teases as part of a giddy, grand experiment in her power overthe opposite sex. She's the leader of the pack when the sisters begin petitioningtheir strict, quirky parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner, both brilliant)for permission to attend their first ever school dance -- mostly becauseshe's already secured a date with the Trip Fontaine (love that name!),the school's GTO-driving rebel dreamboat played by Josh Hartnett ("HereOn Earth").

(In a stroke of ingenious casting, Michael Pare -- theback-alley charmer from "Eddie and the Cruisers" and "Streetsof Fire" -- has a cameo as the grown-up Trip, reminiscing about beingbewitched by the Libson sisters.)

But when Lux loses her virginity that night and returnshome way past curfew (the next morning, in fact), their rigid mom and dadreact by pulling the girls out of school completely and locking them awayin the house as part of a misguided attempt to both punish and protectthem.

Then, one by one, the sisters begin quietly succumbingto morose and overwhelming feelings of angst and eerie ennui with tragicresults.

Coppola demonstrates a confident command of all the elementsof her medium, giving "Virgin Suicides" a consistently dream-likeambiance. She captures perfectly the fondness and bewilderment the girlsinspired in life and especially in death for these mesmerized boys thathave never forgotten them.

Visually, atmospherically, emotionally, she nails the factthat this story is being told as it was remembered, not necessarily asit really was. She deliberately does not depict discernible reasons forthe girls' suicides, yet through her focus on Lux, she paints an indelible,feminine portrait of them. This in addition to their role as enrapturing,idyllic objects of desire and conundrum in the eyes of the narrating boys.

If the movie has one obvious flaw, it is that Lux's sisters(played by Hanna Hall, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman and Chelse Swain, youngersibling of "Lolita" star Dominique Swain) amount to little more than extras. Coppola chosewisely to focus on only one Libson girl, but the others get so little screentime that they're utterly interchangeable.

Save that, the captivating, catchy and detail-oriented"Virgin Suicides" is one of the most promising directorial debutsin recent memory, with the ability to cast a spell I have yet to shakethree weeks after seeing the film.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 45 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 13th September 2012

Box Office Worldwide: $10.4M

Budget: $6M

Production compaines: American Zoetrope

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lux Lisbon, as Mr. Lisbon, as Mrs. Lisbon, as Trip Fontaine, as Mary Lisbon, as Therese Lisbon, as Bonnie Lisbon, Anthony DeSimone as Chase Buell, as Father Moody, as Dr. Horniker, Lee Kagan as David Barker, as Paul Baldino, as Tim Weiner, as Joe Hill Conley, as Narrator, as Cecilia Lisbon, as Dominic Palazzolo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.