The Virgin Suicides

Review Date:
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, J. Costanzo, D. Halsted, C. Hanley
Kirsten Dunst
Josh Hartnett
James Woods
Kathleen Turner
Five very pretty sisters living under the roof of one really strict mom and one really wussed-out dad, attempt to live normal lives among the gaggle of young boys straddled around their ankles, asking for dates.
In one word: boring. In two words: meaningless and boring. And in as many words as I could come up with: this movie starts off real slow, sets an intriguing mood, gets semi-interesting when the character of Trip Fontaine enters the picture, but ultimately draws to a predictable and surprisingly uninteresting close. I spent much of this film wondering what the heck it was all about, and when the film finally concluded on that oh-so popular open-ended “you figure it out” vibe, I was left caring even less about any of its preceding moments. Incidentally, my thoughts as to the lingering question of “why”-uhm, cause the parents were cold and unreasonable, that’s why! What a mystery. Not that any of the characters were developed enough to begin with, most of the boys were just young and horny, all five of the sisters were aloof and giddy (save for one), and the parents were just unreasonably strict for unknown reasons (religion I suppose, but why so strict?). Now whether or not the hidden message in this film had to do with the “loss of innocence” or the “generation gap”, God knows. In the end, all the film managed to successfully bring up was more questions than answers. But I suppose there is a certain type of audience for esoteric films of this sort. Those who line the art-house circuit usually enjoy analyzing the depth of such films, which on the whole, generate little to no entertainment value for the rest of us.

Of course, I don’t like to dismiss films completely due to their lack of one or two elements, especially when other elements of the film do hit the mark. In this movie, the actors were all spot-on, with special kudos going out to the man with the big…IQ, James Woods, as the nerdy math teacher. Whatta chump. He was excellent in this film. On the kids’ side, Kirsten Dunst certainly played the ideal hard-to-get teen queen to a tee, while Josh Hartnett showed that he is more than just a pretty face (and abs…wow!). I also commend Ms. Coppola on her distinct style, obvious to anyone who enjoys the challenge of a filmmaker’s eye, and the soundtrack, which scored heavy points, with a special salute of the thumb going out to the sequence featuring the “Magic Man” song and Hartnett. Well done. But other than that, the film just bored me stupid. Very few laughs, even less memorable scenes, and definitely not an “entertainment” film, by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose that if you’re the type of person who enjoys watching films which don’t say much, leave much to ponder afterwards, and create an authentic enough mood, then this film might just be for you. For anyone else, looking for an interesting story, an absorbing message or even just a simple night of entertainment at the movies, I suggest that you skip this offspring and check out the darkly comedic high school classic HEATHERS, instead.

PS: I just read Roger Ebert’s review of this film (which he loved incidentally) and noticed how he used a quote from Tolstoy to make a point. The quote itself is unimportant, but important is to point out that people who generally go around quoting Tolstoy, are more than likely the type of people who will enjoy this flick. Of course, that’s only my cheezy little observation, folks : )

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

The Virgin Suicides



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