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The Virgin Suicides


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A dark comedy punctuated by moments of drama, The Virgin Suicides explores the emotional underpinnings of a family starting to come apart at the seams in 1970's Midwestern America. The Lisbons seem like an ordinary enough family; Father (James Woods) teaches math at a high school in Michigan, Mother (Kathleen Turner) has a strong religious faith, and they have five teenage daughters, ranging from 13-year-old Cecilia (Hannah Hall) to 17-year-old Therese (Leslie Hayman). However, the Lisbon family's sense of normalcy is shattered when Cecilia falls into a deep depression and attempts suicide. The family is shaken and Mother and Father seek the advice of psychiatrist Dr. Hornicker (Danny DeVito), who suggests the girls should be allowed to socialize more with boys. However, boys soon become a serious problem for Cecilia's sister Lux (Kirsten Dunst). Lux has attracted the eye of a high-school Romeo named Trip (Josh Hartnett), who assures Father of his good intentions. But Cecilia finally makes good on her decision to kill herself, throwing the Lisbons into a panic; and after attending a school dance, Trip seduces and then abandons Lux. The Lisbons pull their daughters out of school, as an emotionally frayed Mother keeps close watch over them. Meanwhile, Lux continues to attract the attentions of the local boys, and she responds with a series of clandestine sexual episodes with random partners as often as she can sneak out of the house. The debut feature from Sofia Coppola (whose father, Francis Ford Coppola, co-produced this film), The Virgin Suicides also features supporting performances from Scott Glenn and Giovanni Ribisi. The film was shown as part of the Directors Fortnight series as the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Amazon.com

Previously criticized for her marginal acting skills, Sofia Coppola made her directorial debut with The Virgin Suicides and silenced her detractors. No amount of coaching from her director father (Francis Coppola) or husband (Spike Jonze) could have guaranteed a film this assured, and in adapting Jeffrey Eugenides's novel, Coppola demonstrates the sensitivity and emotional depth that this material demands. Surely the pain of youth and public criticism found its way into her directorial voice; in the story of four sisters who self-destruct under the steady erosion of their youthful ideals, one can clearly sense Coppola's intimate connection to the inner lives of her characters.

Played in a delicate minor key, the film is heartbreaking, mysterious, and soulfully funny, set in a Michigan suburb of the mid-1970s but timeless and universal to anyone who's been a teenager. The four surviving Lisbon sisters lost a sibling to suicide, and as its title suggests, the film will chart their mutual course to oblivion under the vigilance of repressive parents (Kathleen Turner and James Woods, perfectly cast). But The Virgin Suicides is more concerned with life in that precious interlude of adolescence, when the Lisbon girls are worshipped by the neighborhood boys, their notion of perfection epitomized by Lux (Kirsten Dunst) and her storybook love for high-school stud Trip (Josh Hartnett). Unfolding at the cusp of innocence and sexual awakening, and recalled as a memory, The Virgin Suicides is, ultimately, about the preservation of the Lisbon sisters by their own deaths--suspended in time, polished to perfection, and forever untainted by adulthood. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • "Making Of Virgin Suicides" Documentary
  • "Playground Love" Music Video by Air

Product Details

  • Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Michael Paré
  • Directors: Sofia Coppola
  • Writers: Sofia Coppola, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Producers: Chris Hanley, Dan Halsted, Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Fuchs, Fred Roos
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2000
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (403 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXH1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,135 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Virgin Suicides" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 214 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on December 7, 2000
Format: DVD
'The Virgin Suicides' is a beautiful, understated, and tragic drama, punctuated by great rock music of the late '70s, and featuring terrific performances, particularly by Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartlett, and a nearly unrecognizable Kathleen Turner. What makes the film even more remarkable is that it is the directorial debut by Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, Sofia, best known prior to this by her less-than-stellar performance in 'Godfather 3'! Her sensitivity with this material establishes her as a director to be reckoned with, and a true talent!
The film focuses on the five Lisbon sisters, beautiful, yet repressed by a religious and overly protective mother (Turner), who encourages their intellectual growth, but tries to block any sexual or emotional stirrings. The girls turn their passions into other channels, bonding tightly with one another, and viewing the world as outsiders. When the youngest attempts, then succeeds at killing herself, the family gains an unwanted notoriety, and a group of local boys begin to worship the remaining sisters from afar, gathering materials, and creating a fantasy world about them.
Lux, the most beautiful and free-spirited of the sisters (Dunst), attracts the attentions of the most popular boy in school, Tripp (Hartnett), who confuses raging hormones with love, and begins a campaign to 'have' her. Winning the respect of their father (James Woods, in another excellent 'against-type' portrayal), he succeeds in wearing the mother down, and arranges 'dates' for the sisters, so he can take Lux to the Homecoming Dance. The party provides the springboard for the tragedy that gives the film its name, and catapults the girls into icons that the boys who admire them can never forget.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ClosedBook on December 24, 2000
Format: DVD
I have to disagree with "flickjunkie". I thought this movie was really good. The acting was wonderful throughout and the scenes were gorgeous.
The suicides were a by product. The movie is about growing up, first loves, obsession and oppression. The statement that suicides are predictable and obvious, thus preventable is ridiculous. That's the point.
But, back to my original statement. The Book! I was fortunate enough to have read the book before seeing the movie. The book gives insight that the movie does not. Characters and motivation are more spelled out for those who need it. Read the book and then watch or rewatch the movie. Things will be more clear, background wise and your movie experience will be more enjoyable.
But for all intents and purposes this is an excellent movie. It boasts an amazing cast and is moving and haunting.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 1, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Apparently those who cannot act, can direct. The legendary bad performance Sofia Coppola turned in for her father's "The Godfather, Part III," will now be reduced to being the prelude to what should be a stunning career as a director. Currently nominated for Oscars for both writing and directing Best Picture nominee "Lost in Translation," Coppola already proved her competence behind the camera in her first full-length feature, "The Virgin Suicides" (She previously made a 14-minute short, "Lick the Star"). They will be arguing heredity versus environment on Sofia Coppola for the next half-century.
As our story begins, we are informed by the film's narrator (Giovanni Ribisi) that the first of the Lisbon sisters to attempt suicide, was the youngest, Cecilia (Hannah Hall). Told by the doctor that she is not old enough to know how bad life gets, Cecilia calmly responds, "Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a thirteen year old girl." Having watched "Thirteen" this week, I know bad that age can be, but that is not what "The Virgin Suicides" are about. This film is more about what the boys in the neighborhood thought about the Lisbon sisters than what drove them to suicide.
Strangely enough, "The Virgin Suicides" is not a black comedy, although there are a few moments along those lines, mostly supplied by the adults in the narrative. The boys in the neighborhood worship the Lisbon sisters as icons of both feminine beauty and mystery, especially Lux (Kirsten Dunst), the second youngest of the quintet and the one who is most determined to have done some living before she dies.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Miguel on January 1, 2001
Format: DVD
'The Virgin Suicides' is one of the most beautiful and underrated films of the past year.
It is most of all a tragic drama, punctuated by a great soundtrack and a just-right reproduction from the mid '70s, and featuring outstanding performances by its mainly young and then-little-known cast, filled with fresh faces. These come from Kirsten Dunst (as doomed and lovely Lux Lisbon), estremely good James Woods, and in a look-again performance, an unbelievably deglamorized Kathleen Turner. Oters that deserve mention are Noah Shebib (as Parkie Denton), Hayden Chritensen (whom will soon be seen in Episode II) and Hanna Hall as Cecilia Lisbon, the opener of the way.
Another remarkable aspect of the film is that it is the directorial debut by Sofia Coppola, reviled by many for her less-than-stellar performance in Godfather III. It is amazing the rapport of sensitivity with this material established by her as a director with many ideas and visions.
Like its source, the acclaimed novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, the story focuses on the lives and eventual deaths of the legendary five Lisbon sisters (Mary, Therese, Bonaventure -- aka "Bonnie"- Cecilia and Lux) growing up in an elegant, tree-lined upper-class suburban enclave near Detroit, circa 1975. They are fabulously beautiful, yet oddly repressed by their well-meaning but stifling parents.
In more ways than one, the Lisbon girls become a some sort of single entity, and with the spectacular suicide of the youngest sibling, they take a step in a strange direction that will transform them into history for a group of boys in the neighborhood, who, in their adult years, keep their obsession alive.
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