The Virgin Suicides Screen 11 articles

The Virgin Suicides

1999

The Virgin Suicides Poster
  • A very curious and eclectic piece of work — fresh even when it’s awkward — that’s built around an unsolved mystery, like Picnic at Hanging Rock.

  • In the context of contemporary American film, The Virgin Suicides sets off all manner of red flags—suburbia, the ’70s, teens. But the movie (thanks to its writer-director’s empathic, intelligent reading of the novel) approaches its themes obliquely, averting kitsch and cheap irony. Coppola looks beyond the seductive metaphysical puzzle and locates the core of Eugenides’s allegory in an obsessive, almost forensic act of remembering, both futile and inexplicably essential.

  • Leave it to a woman to boil all the excess, leaden moisture out of Eugenides' book and leave just the bare-bones poetry. Sofia Coppola's adaptation of "The Virgin Suicides" -- it's her directorial debut, and she also adapted the screenplay -- captures the loveliest visuals and bits of language from Eugenides' book and faithfully, but not slavishly, transfers them to the screen.

  • Altogether a mixed bag, The Virgin Suicidesis nevertheless a noteworthy debut. Coppola proves herself a director of burgeoning talent, as well as a sensitive screenwriter. If her missteps hold the film back from achieving the full grandeur it aims for, there is no denying the way it conjures a magic-realist American suburbia, rarely before brought so convincingly to life.

  • Aided immeasurably by a beautiful score by the French techno duo Air, Coppola creates an atmosphere that's hypnotic, unsettling, and evocative in design. But she never gets inside the heads of her characters—individually or as a group—so nothing substantial is learned about them over the course of the film. As a rare anti-coming-of-age story, The Virgin Suicideshas a distinct allure, but in depicting the "imprisonment of being a girl," it remains separated by the bars.

  • Although Edward Lachman’s gorgeous cinematography contributes to the film’s nostalgic glam, Coppola’s dreamy paean to stilted adolescence has a universal appeal. Gracefully surreal, the film says as much about the mysteries of female sexuality as it does about what lies behind troubled picket fences.

  • In real life, memories don’t follow the patterns of a typical movie. Recollections are not played out in fully developed narrative timeframes, perfectly structured strands of thought, or tangible, easily understood events. . . . Sofia Coppola's poetic, tragic and mysterious The Virgin Suicides (released nearly ten years ago and, which emerged to me today, a memory itself while thinking of my siblings), captures the ambiguity of such hazy recollections with tender, albeit horrifying ennui.

  • Coppola joins a deliciously evocative batch of period Top Forty tunes to flashes of backlit cinematography to summon the characters’ lost world, with its stifled experience and receding fantasies. What remains tantalizingly out of reach for the girls—as for the boys who have lost them—is ordinary life. Already, with her first film, Coppola was a master at rendering inner depths startlingly, straightforwardly visual.

  • A moody and mysterious suburban tragedy that uses the suicides of five blonde sisters as a means of exploring the fundamental unknowability of other people. High on 70s swagger and set to Air’s impossibly perfect score (more on the infinite pleasures of “Playground Love” later this week), “The Virgin Suicides” anticipated Coppola’s fascination with celebrity culture by exploring it on a local level, using a high school setting to reconcile the twin forces of myth and maturation

  • With period-appropriate pop music (deployed perfectly, as only Coppola can do) creating moments of unadulterated joy amid an otherwise painful nostalgia, The Virgin Suicides is a loss of innocence and high-school film tonally distinct from and much wiser than most.

  • The little things are what make this movie work and show Coppola as a director with a vision, even in her genesis. The things that stick with me are purely image based. Kirsten Dunst's character laying down in a sky drenched in amethyst after she loses her virginity. Then only to make us think about the differences between boys and girls when Coppola flashes back & shoots it from the male's perspective of abandoning her to the field & rejecting any continued intimacy.

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