The Virgin Suicides

Director: Sofia Coppola

Adapting Jeffrey Eugenides acclaimed novel of the same name, Sofia Coppola makes a boldly gorgeous directorial debut with this tale of the five beautiful Lisbon sisters who decide for reasons unknown to end their lives over the course of a year in suburban 1970’s Michigan. Seductive, mature and unexpected as the Lisbon sisters are themselves-- the film never once ventures into the realm of teenage angst melodrama in its delicate handling of the tragic plot. The narration of the events is handled exquisitely by actor Giovanni Ribisi who fills Coppola’s delicately poetic dialogue with meaning and truisms that linger and echo over the stunning cinematography by Ed Lachman. Dreamy and atmospheric with a fascinating turn by Kirsten Dunst-- hypnotic sensuality is everywhere as the neighborhood boys haunted by the beguiling young women find themselves unable to grasp the truth about the suicides and question each other twenty-five years later, the memories of that one golden, dizzyingly strange summer still with them obsessively throughout their lives. Coppola’s film is scored with eerie, moody compositions by Air and her pop music selections from the 1970’s (see link below) are thoughtful contributions to the film’s lovesick, lonely mood—-there’s gorgeous scenes of daydreaming and time wasting when the neighborhood boys contact the girls via telephone and they take turns playing clips of their favorite songs which augment the tone and translate their emotions far better than any words they could come up with. Some viewers longing for resolution and answers scratched their heads about the meaning of the film, wanting closure just as much as the boys do but the answer was there all along—-like the deaths of the majestic trees lining their sleepy street, the suicides of the Lisbon girls echoed their fate—- radiant and blooming one day and gone the next.

Gilbert O'Sullivan - The Virgin Suicides (Music from the Motion Picture)