182 of 208 people found the following review helpful
Remarkable Debut for Director Sofia Coppola!,
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (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.
There are many reasons to buy this film; Coppola's understanding of how boys and girls interact, and her sure touch with their issues about sexuality; Kirsten Dunst's best performance to date, conveying both sweetness, and barely suppressed erotic desire; Kathleen Turner's breakthrough as a character actress, sacrificing her glamorous persona for a stocky and frumpy matron. There are some excellent cameos, as well, particularly Danny DeVito as a clueless psychiatrist, Scott Glenn as a family priest who offers platitudes instead of comfort, and Michael Paré as an older Tripp, reminiscing about Lux, and their 'love'.
This is a very special film, one that you will not soon forget! I highly recommend it!