Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides; Drama, USA, 1999; D: Sofia Coppola, S: Kirsten Dunst, Hanna Hall, Chelse Swain, Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Josh Hartnett, Danny DeVito

Michigan in the 70s. The Lisbon family has 5 daughters: Cecilia, Mary, Therese, Bonnie and Lux. But their parents are very rigid and strict, forbidding them to see boys, often even not allowing them to leave the house. One day, Cecilia (13), the youngest of the sisters, commits suicide. Realizing they have been too strict, the parents allow more liberty to the girls. Teenager Trip and his friends then take Lux and her sisters out to a dance. Since Trip and Lux slept together, the parents forbid the sisters to leave the house indefinitely. Lux tries to find a substitute for Trip by sleeping with every boy on the roof. Lonely, the sisters commit suicide. The people from the neighborhood cannot explain that.

The feature length directorial debut film by Sofia Coppola, "The Virgin Suicides" are a meditative-elegant, but rather mild drama about how too rigid rules can restrain and wreck young people's lives. The author wanted to create a description of the young sisters, yet their personalities remained rather vague and episodic, except for the character of Lux (excellent Kirsten Dunst) and some notable exceptions, like in the scene where Cecilia wrote in her diary that she wrote the name of her beloved Kevin on all of her bras and underpants. Lux is, as mentioned, the only completely portrayed sister, while the others have too little screen time, which is why some even seem like extras, though the main theme is still understandable. A much better portrait was, surprisingly, given to the boys from the neighborhood. The story is unfocused, but Coppola showed that she has a sense for esoteric directing (when one lad smells Lux's lipstick, her images shows up illuminated by the Sun; a photo hidden in the wheel of a bicycle) and full of warmth and emotions.


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