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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


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Virgin Suicides, The
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by Laura Kyle

"The Virgin Suicides is a hollow film obsessed with itself."
2 stars

The Virgin Suicides is conveniently somewhat of a virgin effort on part of director/writer Sofia Coppola. With only three films under her belt to this day, it is not surprising that The Virgin Suicides lacks the vision of a more experienced filmmaker.

The Virgin Suicides explores the effect of the five mysterious Lisbon sisters on the neighborhood boys in Michigan, presumably during the 1970's (or "25 years ago," the film was made in 1999). The sisters: Lux, Mary, Therese, Bonnie, and Cecilia have a strange seduction over the local boys, especially Trip Fontaine, the high school stud. The boys' affixiations provide amusement to the otherwise aloof girls. When the youngest sister commits suicide by jumping out of her window and landing on a fence, the conservative Lisbon parents proceed to isolate the rest of their daughters in the house for weeks on end.

Coppola creates a cold, dark, and often haunting movie, with subtle unsentimental music and dream like sequences.

While the melancholy mood is successfully depicted and the acting is solid, James Woods and Kathleen Turner giving good performances as the Lisbon parents, there are certain plot fallacies that draw The Virgin Suicides away from believability. The script is purposely baffling and probably meant to intrigue more than enlighten, but the notion that five girls sheltered from any world outside of school, without access to the internet or cable television, could be as knowledgeable and self-aware as grown women, is not too likely. And the boys' ruthless pursuit to uncover the mystery of the Lisbon girls is not too credible either; most boys would choose more winnable battles to consume their days with. I was not convinced. In general, I found the film to be uneven and ultimately ineffective in evoking any kind of theme or lasting impact. There are isolated moments of emotion and off-beat humor, but still a story that is amiss, much like the Lisbon sisters.

It is doubtful that Coppola's intention was to thoughtlessly experiment with film and produce a useless picture, but I do not feel she created something particularly congruent or valuable.

The Virgin Suicides studies mental illness and seemingly irrational actions from the point of view of those unable to understand it. The Lisbon sisters are in fact a maystery and they remain that way to the end credits. So I was unsure of what The Virgin Suicides was trying to say, and have concluded that it didn't really know what to say, or didn't have anything to say at all except "look at me, I'm kind of odd and pretty."

In lieu of Coppola's latest Oscar nominated Lost in Translation, she has revealed herself as a director inclined to stress the aesthetic appeal of cinema, rather than the dramatic and scripted. She prefers creating alluring atmospheres above all else, which is commendable and refreshing, but I sense an elementary understanding of the workings of powerful cinema in comparison to her father. The Virgin Suicides is simply not crafted or intriguing enough to be forgiven for its ambiguity and loose ends.

I didn't like Lost in Translation either.

The Virgin Suicides is interesting and unsettling at first, but not too adhesive. I don't believe any insight into the human condition can be rendered here, rather an improbable, somewhat pretentious, artistic effort that tries to perplex more than explain.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3859&reviewer=369
originally posted: 05/18/04 07:01:27
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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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