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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 iF Magazine

"One of the best films of the year."
5 stars

Pitch black humor, remorse and innuendo waft over the new drama THE VIRGIN SUICIDES like a warm summer’s breeze. A story of teen lust, longing and ultimately desperation, this adaptation of the cult hit novel of the mid ‘90s marks the startling directorial debut of Sofia Coppola. Yeah, that Coppola. As in daughter of Francis. As in the one blamed for ruining GODFATHER III. As in the one who has since retreated to magazine writing, fashion design and general hob knobbing. So who would have thought this would be the most daring, the most confident, the most audacious debut since, well Spike Jonze’s BEING JOHN MALKOVICH?

That fact that Coppola is married to Jonze and they were both shooting their maiden cinematic voyages simultaneously truly boggles the mind. But we’ve talked plenty about Spike, now it’s Sofia’s turn to shine.

VIRGIN SUICIDES takes place in the ‘70s and concerns the Lisbon sisters, five very attractive and very confused teenagers who grow up in a very wealthy and conservative suburb of Detroit. (Gross Pointe to be exact.) As oppressed by a domineering mother (a shockingly dowdy Kathleen Turner) and a comically ineffectual father (James Woods in a terrific departure from his usual bombastic self), the girls long to be like other kids, but find ultimately only desperation.

Kirsten Dunst leads the pack as Lux, the oldest and seemingly strongest sister, who presides over four equally blonde and desifferous siblings played by several fresh faced newcomers that include A.J. Cook and Hanna Hall. At the center of the several stories is a classic romance that recalls everything cinematic from CARRIE to the latest dippy Freddie Prinz Jr. vehicle.

And this is where Coppola bravely mixes and messes with the milieu.

Lux is hot for Trip Fontaine, the school’s coolest dude (played almost to the hilt by Josh Hartnett) while her mother is determined to make sure all her girls graduate with hymens intact. Of course the girls disobey their mother but after the familiar set ups, things get strange in mysterious ways that would be criminal to give away here.

The film is told in a mock flashback with the boys next door, who longed for the unobtainable sisters, retelling the tale that starts down the usual high school corridors (jocks, dances, underage drinking) and then suddenly veers off into darker corners that can only be described as something out of a dream state.

It’s a perfectly controlled and modulated, haunting art film (with her lineage could Coppola really have made anything else?). By turns funny, sad and shocking SUICIDE features images that will slowly creep into your subconscious. A girl’s tale told by boys SUICIDE is informed by a deadpan narrator (Giovanni Ribisi) who describes first meeting Lux as “she came closer, and we saw the light in her eyes we’ve been looking for ever since.”

Coppola, who adapted the screenplay from the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, seems to well remember the awkward time of adolescence (she’s 27 now) and gets all the details just right. By mixing soft focused pastels and soft spoken dialogue with clingingly corny ‘70s power ballads, she lovingly recreates a moment in time and memory that will either have viewers swooning in ecstasy or gagging.

When the film played at Sundance in January the advance word was great and many cynical festival goers took the occasion to sharpen their knifes and attack the film as pretentious, vacuous claptrap. Hopefully a more unbiased audience will see it for what it is: one of the best films of the year. ---Paul Zimmerman (iF Magazine (http://ifmagazine.ifctv.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3859&reviewer=119
originally posted: 05/14/00 02:05:44
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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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