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The Virgin Suicides

415 customer reviews

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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.

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 (415 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXH1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,284 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Virgin Suicides" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 220 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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12 of 12 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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on September 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
"The Virgin Suicides" is a powerful and finely nuanced movie. The plot centers on five beautiful blonde sisters, "The Lisbon Sisters," who live with their overly protective parents in an upscale suburb of Detroit. The narrative is told from the vantage point of an awkward teenage male, now grown up, who lived near them. He and his friends were mesmerized by them and years later still talk about them and sift through their memorabilia of them.
The movie begins with the first two suicide attempts of the youngest sister Cecilia, with the second one being successful. It then traces the impact of her death on her family and her neighbors-with the parents becoming even more protective of their four surviving daughters. Trouble though, comes from Luz, now the youngest and the most vibrant and flirtatious. She falls for the school hunk-and he for her-and with her sisters and their escorts goes to the homecoming dance. This proves to be fatal for all involved.
Sofia Coppola did an amazing job with this movie for a first time director. She focuses on small details-for example, the bracelets that cover the scarred wrists of Cecilia after her first suicide attempt-that tell so much. She pulled an outstanding performance out of Kirsten Dunst who played Luz. She also compiled an amazing soundtrack and score.
I would recommend this movie for those who enjoy "arty" serious films, 70's films, and women-themed movies.It is definitely not a "feel good" movie-but it will stay with you far longer than most other films.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jesse B. Wendel on April 6, 2004
Format: DVD
This film is not nearly as moving as the book of the same title, which captures youth as a much more nuanced, ethereal time (not to mention developing the story so well that it lingers, like a Polaroid picture, long after the color has filled in). But it is a fine adaptation, filled with textured performances and much of the metaphoric depth of the novel (the fish flies, the accumulation of material goods and their subsequent abandonment, etc). My one complaint is not with the film itself but one of the reviews posted above--from Kayla, who has transposed, word for word, the review of the film written by web reviewer James Berardinelli (found easily on Rotten Tomatoes and other sites). It's amazing that people on this site are willing to plagarize for the sake of ratings--and disturbing, too, that others are buying products based on reviews of products that the posting "reviewer" may or may not have used/seen/read in the first place. But so much for those inclined to artistic theft--check the film out, and the book as well; they're both of the highest quality.
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