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Overall Rating
3.65

Awesome: 29.49%
Worth A Look35.9%
Average: 14.74%
Pretty Bad: 9.62%
Total Crap: 10.26%

12 reviews, 84 user ratings



Virgin Suicides, The
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by EricDSnider

"What a tragic waste of virgins!"
4 stars

"Cecilia was the first to go." So says the narrator in "The Virgin Suicides," the atmospheric directorial debut by Sofia Coppola (daughter of Francis Ford Coppola).

Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall) is the 13-year-old daughter of the Lisbons (James Woods and Kathleen Turner, both perfect in their roles), a middle-class family living, the movie tells us, "25 years ago" in suburban Michigan. She is the first of the five Lisbon girls to attempt suicide, and though she is at first unsuccessful and the family tries to carry on with normal life, she eventually finishes the job.

The impact of her suicide is devastating. Her parents were over-protective to begin with; this just makes things worse. Her sisters -- Therese (Leslie Hayman), 17; Mary (A.J. Cook), 16; Bonnie (Chelse Swain), 15; and Lux (Kirsten Dunst), 14 -- continue to muddle through, not allowed to date boys or otherwise enjoy their teen years, though these rules were in effect already (no doubt contributing to Cecilia's depression in the first place).

After a time, school hunk Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett) asks Lux to the prom. Demure and nerdy Mr. Lisbon, a teacher at the high school, convinces his quietly dominating wife to let Lux go on the condition that her sisters all go, too. Trip rounds up a few friends, and the four couples go to the prom.

This middle section seems like a rather charming slice-of-life film about the mid-'70s. Just as in real life, there is humor, despite the recent tragedy in the family. Scenes with some of the neighborhood boys (who love the Lisbon girls) are also enjoyable.

Then things get darker. When Lux, experiencing freedom for the first time ever, takes things too far with Trip and stays out past curfew, the restrictions come down even tighter. The Lisbons pull their daughters out of school and forbid them even to leave the house. The neighborhood boys communicate with them as best they can, and eventually try to help them escape. What happens is dreadful; note the plural in the film's title, as well as that narrator's ominous first line, and know that Cecilia is not destined to be the only one.

"The Virgin Suicides" clearly owes a lot to films like "The Ice Storm" (which it most closely resembles in setting, mood and attitude) and "American Beauty"; there's even some of "Ordinary People" thrown in there. Coppola succeeds at conveying a certain tone that is gloomy without being overly depressing; the film is, at times, almost fable-like.

There are mistakes, too, though. The narrator (Giovanni Ribisi) is clearly one of the neighborhood boys, but it's never made clear which one -- an irritating little detail, since we often hear him telling the story while we see the boys, and it would be nice to know which one of them is the one talking.

More important, though, is that a clear theme is never really established. The film is stylish and unarguably thought-provoking, but what does it boil down to? That over-protective parents sometimes do more harm than good? There must be more to it than that. One doesn't expect Coppola to spell everything out for us, but a few more hints would be nice, especially with four sisters to keep track of, none of whose heads we ever really get inside.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3859&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/07/03 10:32:00
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User Comments

10/10/17 Louise Superbly made and nicely understated, although a serious theme. 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell bleak but worth a look 3 stars
9/02/15 Brando James Woods as the father is the only compelling act in this movie. 2 stars
5/19/13 PAUL SHORTT COMPELLING, INTENSE DRAMA WITH SOME GOOD PERFORMANCES 3 stars
8/20/11 Rachel undeveloped characters and story. Ridiculous and crude. Not at all like the 70's I lived 1 stars
8/16/11 chris Poetic and kind of empty in some ways though why it got a R-rating is beyond me. 4 stars
3/20/11 Lab Rat Well, I think every woman having kids MUST see this, to know how NOT to raise them. 5 stars
7/17/10 brian Can Ribisi fail even when he's not on screen? No, he cannot. 4 stars
10/24/09 Jeff Wilder Visually poetic. 4 stars
8/28/09 Girl A really good movie 4 stars
5/19/09 Anonymous. anyone who liked this movie should read the book, it's even better. 4 stars
5/15/09 Matt absolutely horrid and detestable in every way. made me want to hang myself 1 stars
8/01/07 ravenmad this is a luv it/hate it pic: I loved it! 5 stars
5/14/07 fools♫gold What would later lead to greats like Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. 7/10 4 stars
2/22/07 Beau wonderfully made film from 'coppola' and 'dunst and turner' are magnificent, very compellin 5 stars
12/06/06 criticalthinker It is critical to read the book before watching the film. 4 stars
11/27/06 William Goss Intimate, immediate, and haunting. 5 stars
9/23/06 David Pollastrini Sofia coppola directs much better than she acts 5 stars
3/04/06 omar one of the best movies ever. depressing but a good movie altogether 5 stars
8/17/05 ES blah, blah, blah, blah, blah =not worth the time or money 1 stars
4/27/05 movielover this movie is one of the best movies ever! 5 stars
4/24/05 sweetgrrl1972 Boring 1 stars
3/25/05 john h. wallace very depressiing yet lures you into wanting more 5 stars
1/28/05 gtsilver makes you wonder what your daughters are thinking 4 stars
1/16/05 Jeff Anderson A dreamy, perfectly acted, and totally accurate depiction of the 70's. SOFIA COPPOLA ROCKS! 5 stars
12/07/04 Felicia Matthews I really like this movie. It was well directed and had very talented actors 5 stars
7/25/04 Movieguy A great film 5 stars
7/21/04 dropdead beautiful movie, very endearing. 5 stars
6/16/04 Jeanne Beautifully shot, nice mood, but ultimately, no real point 3 stars
5/29/04 R.W. Welch Good cinematography but enigmatic and a bit draggy. 3 stars
3/28/04 lvlisty69 it was good to me is it true? 4 stars
1/30/04 Elena Amazing use of music; great acting; but story has holes in it... doesn't make sense 3 stars
1/27/04 Chloe Brody The title was decieving...the virgin suicides...hmmm 4 stars
1/10/04 your worst goddamn nightmare artsy, humorous, intelligent film... the narration reminded me of Goodfellas, hehe 5 stars
10/28/03 WestcoastPunk wow is all i hvae to say 5 stars
9/09/03 sneaker it's not enough to show sad pretty girls in "danger looming" atmosphere. Cheap. 3 stars
9/05/03 Darlene Groetz The movie in which Kirsten Dunst became a zombie of the tragic wands. 1 stars
4/29/03 Buko This movie has a magical feeling, and Kirsten is just wonderful 5 stars
4/20/03 Dillon Considering its the directors debut, pretty damn good. Great music, great Dunst & Josh too 4 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Curiously unmoving. 2 stars
3/13/03 kelley jewell its alright 3 stars
2/05/03 Kirsten Dunst fan in mourning I'd rather be sodomized by a gang of porcupines than have to play "Lux"!. 1 stars
1/15/03 dammitall this is the worst. only visuals worth it. 1 stars
11/28/02 Zack W. Young Beautiful and truly disturbing. 5 stars
8/31/02 Natalie Stonecipher Poor Kirsten Dunst - Is she wasted herein? Drawn and quartered is more like it. 1 stars
8/28/02 I Can't Swim Excellent in practically every way. A bit more insight into Mom & Dad would have been nice 4 stars
8/27/02 Phoenix I'm in love with Kirsten Dunst. 5 stars
6/22/02 Frances I love twisted films like this 5 stars
6/01/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi I absolutely loved this film, very depressing, yet very entertaining 5 stars
5/16/02 Darlene Groetz The movie where Kirsten Dunst became a zombie of the tragic wands. 1 stars
4/29/02 Demure33 It has all the flavor of the 70s from a girl's perspective 4 stars
3/31/02 Elizaveta amazingly real 5 stars
3/06/02 Kirsten Dunst fan in mourning I'd rather be sodomized by a gang of porcupines than have to play "Lux". 1 stars
3/02/02 Nomargin Fantastically clautorphobic!! Ms. Coppola has a bright future ahead of her. 5 stars
2/03/02 Natalie Stonecipher Poor Kirsten Dunst - Is she wasted herein? Drawn and quartered is more like it. 1 stars
1/14/02 Tomper Lux was a virgin??? Barely stuck it out to the end. 3 stars
12/03/01 Kate Dull, missing lots o'details, unrealistic, under-dvlpd chrctrs, boring plot. Don't bother. 1 stars
11/30/01 Jeff Wilson Nice "collective" narration idea. Dunst before she made teen crap. nice movie, nice book 4 stars
9/17/01 Bri Yuck, avoid this garbage. 1 stars
9/08/01 country had to watch it for a college english course... i liked it, and the book is worth reading 4 stars
8/18/01 Dakamus "Sucks All Ass" is nowhere near the level of shittiness for this festering bag of poop. 1 stars
5/29/01 Basil I think it w 5 stars
4/01/01 Clarance FanFuckinTastic cinematography combined with a unique and thought provoking plot 4 stars
3/22/01 lickthestar Not as good as the book but few movies are I suppose. Still an excellent film. 5 stars
3/08/01 Mart Dawg GAyest, most boring movie i've seen in a while, IT WOULDNT FUCKING END!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
2/24/01 Marie completely unbeliavable. Huge plot holes. 3 stars
1/28/01 xy this movie was so awesome. i reccommend u watch it!!! 5 stars
1/07/01 kyle great soundtrack + lovely um, girls? woods very good 4 stars
12/17/00 perverted pixie Shades of "To Die For". Ethereal and enigmatic- who exactly was the narrator? 4 stars
10/18/00 elizabeth dreamy, ethereal, gooey like the lip gloss on kirsten dunst's lips 4 stars
10/06/00 JL Sofia's a lucky bitch. But also a fucking genious. I want a new daddy. Two thumbs way up!!! 5 stars
8/29/00 Viking Not a bad effort 4 stars
8/16/00 MIKE I AM IN SUCH LOVE WITH JOSH HARTNETT! WHAT A HOT GUY!!!!!! 5 stars
8/13/00 Belinda Yawn. 2 stars
6/25/00 skye chapman boring. trite. empty. simpleminded. obvious. stupid. annoying. is it only me? 1 stars
6/12/00 Lisa Odd movie, but kept my interest. Not enough info regarding the reasons for the suicides. 4 stars
5/30/00 Zatoichi Jones Dead sexy and dead creepy. 4 stars
5/19/00 Louis An OK movie. Kirsten Dunst is HOT! 3 stars
5/19/00 syd Coppola has a good eye for set design & costume design, but writing/directing needs work 3 stars
5/10/00 Stefano maybe failing in deeply exploring the teens' world, but it's poetic and touching 4 stars
5/07/00 PJ Great movie, great soundtrack, great acting, original, beautiful, just great 5 stars
4/27/00 Robert I Cruickshank The auto-comment says it all: worth a look. I liked the movie, despite its numerous holes. 4 stars
4/18/00 violetta Incredibly brilliant, touching, never conventional. 5 stars
4/17/00 Mairi Thomas Brilliantly evocative of 70's chilhood and barmy parents. Dreamy ultra-cool soundtrack. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Apr-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A (15)

Australia
  10-Aug-2000 (MA)




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