The Virgin Suicides

( 24 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Teen angst in the '70s takes on tragic proportions in this haunting adaptation of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel. Sophomore director Sofia Coppola, the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather, The Conversation, breaks out in her own right with this tale of five beautiful blonde teenage sisters Kirsten Dunst, Hanna Hall, Chelsea Swain, A. J. Cook, and Leslie Hayman, who mesmerize the adolescent male population of their suburban Michigan neighborhood before ending their own lives. Dunst, playing the most charismatic of the sisters, is superb as a rebellious yet vulnerable dream girl, but the film also features fine and surprising performances from James Woods as the girls' nerdy science teacher father;Kathleen Turner as their frumpy, repressed mother; and Josh Hartnett as a high school stud whose fling with Dunst has dire consequences. What makes The Virgin Suicides truly memorable, though, is the atmosphere of dreamy nostalgia and melancholy that suffuses every frame. The boys' uncomprehending idealization of the sisters is expressed in slow-motion, soft-focus fantasy sequences of the golden-haired girls running through sun-dappled fields -- distorted images of femininity derived from '70s shampoo commercials. The score's deft use of period arena-pop by acts like Heart and Styx enhances to the '70s scenario. At once lyrical and creepy, The Virgin Suicides is a modern fairy tale that casts a lingering spell.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The Virgin Suicides paints an emotionally harrowing portrait of adolescence. Simultaneously nostalgic and foreboding, Coppola finds just the right tone to deliver a warning about the way girls grow up in society, while still having enough grace to show us there may be hope. The cinematography and acting reinforce the theme of fantasy colliding with reality. Ed Lachman utilizes a dreamy, nostalgic look which allows the tragedy of the film to hit the audience even harder. Kirsten Dunst gives a stunningly mature performance. She manages to simultaneously play both the fantasy dream girl and the pained reality that make up the conflicting aspects of Lux's personality. Giovanni Ribisi narrates the film with a voice that is simultaneously resigned and filled with wonder. It is the voice of maturity looking back on youth. He is a representation of the adult voice of all the boys in the neighborhood who spent their days fantasizing about Lux and her sisters. At the end of the film, he tells the audience that they now realize they knew nothing at all about the Lisbon girls. This understanding may be the first step.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/24/2001
  • UPC: 097361562506
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Woods Mr. Lisbon
Kathleen Turner Mrs. Lisbon
Kirsten Dunst Lux
Josh Hartnett Trip Fontaine
Hannah Hall Cecilia
Chelse Swain Bonnie
A.J. Cook Mary
Leslie Hayman Therese
Danny DeVito Dr. Hornicker
Scott Glenn Father Moody
Jonathan Tucker Tim
Anthony DeSimone Chase
Giovanni Ribisi Narrator
Hayden Christensen Jake
Robert Schwartzman
Technical Credits
Sofia Coppola Director, Screenwriter
Willi Baer Executive Producer
Richard Beggs Sound/Sound Designer
John Buchan Casting
Francis Ford Coppola Producer
Julie Costanzo Producer
Fred Fuchs Executive Producer
Dan Halsted Producer
Chris Hanley Producer
Melissa Kent Editor
Edward Lachman Cinematographer
James Lyon Editor
Fred Roos Co-producer
Yasna Stefanovic Production Designer
Nancy Steiner Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeffrey Eugenides Source Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great powerful film

    this movie is one of my favorites. Sofia Coppola delivers with this 60s inspired film about four boys infatuation with their neighbors the five Lisbon sisters. The movie paints a perfect picture of two parents overprotectiveness of their daughters and the psychological effect it has on them. Kathleen Turner and James Woods are perfect as the parents along with the young cast including Josh Hartnett and Spider Man's Kirsten Dunst. Grab this movie an instant classic

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Powerful Title for a Powerful Movie.

    As I am someone that grew up with overprotective parents, I know exactly what it feels like to be one of the girls in this movie. This movie is so powerful and will leave you wanting more. The movie is truly wonderful. Shows the emotions of being a teenager very well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sofia's freshmen project is to be commended.

    A lot viewer’s know that Sofia Coppola is not much of a great actress, but she seems to have inherited some of her father's talents in this film. Coppola knows how to get the best from her actors and a few "coming of age" films have the sensual, dream-like quality as this 1974 look at upper middle class American suburbia. Written and directed by her, this mesmerizing account of adolescent sexual socialization (set in the posh suburbs of 1974 Detroit) has a bittersweet quality, yet is tragic as well. A group of young teenage boys come into contact with five bewitchingly beautiful teenage sisters in their affluent neighborhood. Each savor the short time they have with these girls, who are extremely overprotected by their devout Catholic parents (Woods and Turner). Humorous, sensual, and highly evocative of "boy-meets-girl awkwardness" as seen through the boys' eyes, this film is a tribute to an American way of life not unlike "American Beauty". However, the dreaminess comes to an abrupt end... an "awakening", if you will... by the boys as they come to grips with a tragedy they are barely able to comprehend Sofia Coppola is an immensely talented filmmaker. She recreates the 70's era effortlessly, and allows the characters to all be real people instead of mere thumbnail sketches. While this movie might lack a standard plot structure it succeeds dramatically in capturing the mood and feel of a certain generation. Obviously this movie will speak loudest to those who experience adolescence in the seventies but it also communicates strongly to all people recollecting that period of their lives. The great tragedy imparted in this movie is that of young beauty extinguished and the fruitless search to discover how this crime against nature could have occurred. The cinematography is beautiful, never distracting but always full of genuinely real images, which served to offset the hallucination tone of the movie. There is a relaxed pace to the film, and I was drawn into the hazy, misty memories that make up the bulk of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Leaves you in pure awe

    This movie fascinated me in every way possible. The characters, the plot, the way it left you standing at the end wishing (as the neighborhood boys in the movie had) that you could fill in the missing pieces of the Lisbon girls puzzle. It literally left me saying "WOW!" at the end. I was blown away!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Lasting Story

    The Virgin Suicides is a tale that will stay with you for days. I felt after reading the book and seeing the movie, that I wanted to hear more of the girls and go deeper into their lives. It is and addicting story that tells of the Lisbon girls and their short lives of darkness and drear. After watching the movie, I read the book and the book was ten times better. It went more in depth into the places that the movie couldn¿t reach and opened more doors into the girl¿s thoughts. You could visually see the decline of Lux¿ physical appearance and mentality at the beginning of lock-down and after, such as the hair missing above her left ear, the ¿roof¿ incidences, and the declining overall cleanliness of her. The Virgin Suicides is definitely a must read and a must see movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wow

    I loved watching this movie!I liked the mysterious atmosphere in the movie and I couldn't take my eyes away from the movie. It was really very sad,the end.Kirsten Dunst looked great in this movie but that hair-do on Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett) made me laugh.Overall,great movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Shocking and Hypnotic!

    Though I didn't view Ms. Coppola's masterpiece in a theatre, I can honestly say that the experience was nothing short of cinematic bliss. The film's bright, yet shaded tale gives that same nostalgic, sinking sensation of endless teenage summers. It captures the pictures that Mr. Eugenide's novel so elegantly painted in every frame. Each performance is entrancing and I find every silent, open moment on the screen to be a calming, yet ominous gap between viscous, hurtling storms. It's magic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best Drama movie

    It really showes you what teen life is like. Going through all the hell that you are put through sometime pushes you off the edge because you can't take it anymore. Then, after the 13 year old kills herself, her sisters are in pain. They aways say that time will heal the pain, but it just makes it worse. Then after Lux breaks curfew, their lives are over. Then, they get desperate and try to get out. But in the end, the pain got to them first. Mainly because of their crazy irrational mother. I love this movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Virgin Suicides

    I loved the movie The Virgin Suicides because it related on the demands society puts on young adolscent females. Also, liked it because it showed how everybody's life is effected after one commits suicide for it doesn't just impact your friends and family but society as while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Fairy Tale Without The Happy Ending

    I was extremely leery about seeing this movie because I know how it ends, and because, although I do enjoy all types of films, I am still a sucker for a happy ending. However, this is one of the best movies I have seen recently. By learning about the sisters using the boys who were obsessed with them, I was able to love the characters (and feel very sorry for how their mother shielded them from the world and more notably from members of the opposite sex) without feeling an attachment to them. The movie is done Very tastefully, considering it deals with a family of Catholics whose parents repress their daughters to the point of house arrest, and where all the daughters eventually end their own lives. I think it sends a strong message, without being too dark and political. The movie has a dreamy quality, and is a modern fairy tale with a not-so-happy ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the aweful truth

    The Virgin Suicides is my favorite movie. It is a bit extreme to those people who dont understand the concept. The actors/actoresses were perfect for the part. I think that the only problem with the movie is it didnt inform enough...the movie and the book have differences, i think the movie couldve informed a little more as the book does. Other than that the movie is flawless, it shows what teenagers go through, and that was back in the 70's think about how much worse it is now. The movie helps people understand what teenagers go through. The life of parents who take strict to an extreme, how they feel trapped and cant have there own life. The life of sex, whether people like it or not teenagers have sex. I think it helps people realize how much of it is bad and good, would you rather have your teen having safe sex with limited people or would you rather have your teen prancing around to everyone in the state? i think the movie informs what to look for in those previous two subjects i named. It also gives clues as to what to look for in teens who deal with suicide or depression. Suicide is tragic especially among those of younger ages, its aweful to hear about young teens taking their lives, i think the movie better describes what to look for. It is not good to feel depressed and suicidal, half the people who feel this way wish someone could help and would know. These are the people who kill themselves and have doubts who arent sure if what theyre doing is right or wrong. The other half are convinced theres no other way out and there is no help for them. This movie hopefully helps people tell the difference between both sides...and if you dont understand what i mean in this 'review' you obviously dont know what it is to deal with this kind of stuff and wouldnt know where to begin. For you people i hope to god your friends and loved ones arent depressed other wise they might end up like the charactors in this movie. it was a good movie but the book is better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Haunting, tragic tale

    In her directorial debut, Sofia Coppola tells the atmospheric tale of 5 Beautiful sisters, held down by their well-meaning but horribly over-protective mother. The girls are prohibited from attending social events, especially any where boys will be present. But their mother's over-protection merely heightens the girls' already prevalent angst... I loved the film. It is hauntingly told and the pace, although slow, is constant and captivating. The film perfectly captures the angst of adolescence and the mood of the 70's. The music is wonderful and Kathleen Turner, James Woods and Josh Hartnett give great performances but its Kirsten Dunst, as the mesmerising and gorgeous Lux, that really sticks in your memory. By the end, I was full of questions about the characters, but felt entirely satisfied by the film and haunted by its memory.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    prepare to be possessed by this film

    I first watched this film, then read the book and I am still hungry to know more about the characters. This film is one of the few that show what teens really go through during that period in their life and shows how sisters deal with an unexplained loss. This film shows that no matter how perfect and kind a family or town may be, there are still problems and there are tragic events that no matter how hard one may try to figure out, are unexplainable. I think most people, especially those who grew up in the 70's, 80's and 90's can identify with the feelings, the climactic events and the emotions these teens experienced. One Caution. Don't watch the film waiting for ''The Virgin Suicides''. Watch not just the lives of the Lisbon girls, but the Lisbon parents, the neighborhood teens and their families. Some of the best scenes of the film is seeing how the outsiders view the Lisbon household and how they deal with their own lives. This is one of the truest and finest examples of experiences of youth retold without the gloss of adult explanations and opinions. I also recommend reading the book. You really are given some insight that the film cannot go into. I would give ten stars if I could.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    i loved chris hale

    i had only watched a little of this movie, but the actors and actresses were great!there is only 1 problem......i loved chris hale and you diddn't even add him to the cast!!!!i know he was only in it for a couple of sec's he was awesome and hot. if you would could you please let me know a site that will let me see pitcures of him OR a super faver would be to give or send him my e-mail address which is sarahwillett7@hotmail.com i really thought that movie was great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    lost angels

    Lisbon girls are sensitive on what they are and how they are expected to be.I think Sofia Coppola is a great film maker she succeeded in describing girls' selfishness, and sensitiveness and emptyness. also music and art direction make the story more impressed. everytime I think of this film, I can't help myself feeling something has lost in my mind,since I lost my first love,or sinceI knew that I am not a special,that I am just ordinary girl. Boys may not understand this film,I don't know. but for girls, this film gives you that feeling again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An anti-family, anti-Christian film

    Sofia Coppola¿s The Virgin Suicides is yet another example of Hollywood¿s hatred of the family and of the Christian values of modesty, restraint, and self-control upon which this country is based. The film is anti-Christian, specifically anti-Catholic. The family¿s house abounds with crucifixes, holy cards, and images of the Virgin Mary--all of which are represented as contributing to the atmosphere that causes the daughters to commit their insane act. Of course, suicide is considered a mortal sin by the Church; so anyone with a good Catholic upbringing would be much less likely to kill herself than would someone brought up with the anti-values of the nihilistic society that Hollywood glorifies. The Church¿s condemnation of suicide wouldn¿t fit in with this film¿s anti-Catholic message, however, and so it is ignored. The mother and father--decent, responsible people whose only concern is the welfare of their daughters--are mocked by Coppola. The father is portrayed as out of touch with reality and dominated by his wife. Compare Hollywood¿s negative portrayal of the father in this film with that of the father in American Beauty, who quits his job, takes up smoking marijuana, decides to seduce his teenage daughter¿s best friend--and is portrayed quite sympathetically. The mother in The Virgin Suicides is made out to be a religious nut (In the eyes of Hollywood, is any sincerely religious person ever anything but nuts?) who in reaction to one of her daughter¿s breaking curfew withdraws all her daughters from school and keeps them locked in the house. This isolation eventually leads to the film¿s announced conclusion, which is dramatically forced but necessary to make the film¿s propagandistic point. Simply put, the message of The Virgin Suicides is: Christianity, bad; adolescent sex, good. It goes back to Freud¿s idea that any repression of instinctual impulses leads to violence--in The Virgin Suicides, violence against oneself. That the most violent criminals in our society are those who put absolutely no restraint on their impulses and appetites is somehow not evidence enough for Hollywood of the absurdity of Freud¿s theory. The film seems interminable, even at 97 minutes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Truly Picturesque

    Sofia Coppola succeeds in creating a film which offers a breif peak into the ambiguous era of the 70's and the complex mind of teenage girls. The story is narrated by a nameless group of boys who admired the 5 sisters from afar and who, after 30 years, are still puzzled by their suicides. Although a serious drama at times, as the title would suggest, the subtle humor is pure brillance. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys avant-garde or independent style type of films, especially dark comedies. This film plays on a variety of levels and is one of my personal favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews