Originally released in 1999, The Virgin Suicides is the stunning feature directorial debut of Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation, Marie Antoinette). It is based on the novel of the same name by Jeffrey Eugenides (The Switch, The Marriage Plot).
It is presented here following a 4K restoration from Criterion and is also availablel on Blu-ray and DVD.
“Our collection of souvenirs of the Lisbon girls, which still exists, started with Cecelia’s diary.”
Set in Detroit in the mid seventies, the story is relayed to us through the memories of a group of neighbourhood boys who have become fascinated with the family living acroos the street from them and who are still as adults trying to come to terms with their suicides.
Mr. Lisbon (James Woods – Videodrome, White House Down), a maths teacher and his wife (Kathleen Turner – Romancing the Stone, Body Heat) live in a lovely suburban home with their five beautiful teenage daughters. Cecelia (Hanna Hall – Forrest Gump, Halloween) the youngest is 13, then Lux (Kirsten Dunst – Jumanji, Spiderman) aged 14, Bonnie (Chelse Swain – Geargia Rule, The Naked Ape) aged 15, Mary (A.J. Cook – Final Destination 2, Criminal Minds (TV series)) aged 16 and Therese (Leslie Hayman) aged 17.
Mrs. Lisbon is a devout Catholic snd raises the girls in a strict and sheltered household. Their lives are turned upside down when Cecelia attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in the bath. She survives and it is recommended by her psychiatrist, Dr. Horniker (Danny DeVito – The War of the Roses, Matilda) that the girls should socialise more. To this end, the parents allow them to throw a chaperoned party, to which the boys are invited. Unfortunately, Cecelia excuses herself and then jumps from her window, impaling herself on the fence outside and dying instantly.
Following this, the rules are tightened even further, only finally to be relaxed when local heartthrob Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett – 30 Days of Night, The Blck Dahlia) persuades them to be allowed to attend the Homecoming Dance. This backfires however when he abandons Lux, who breaks curfew and is forced to take a taxi home. From this point, the girls are taken out of school and become even more reclusive, leading to more speculation from the boys about what really happened in the days leading up to their deaths.
“We knew that they knew everything about us and that we couldn’t fathom them at all.”
The Virgn Suicides is a great film and this is a fantastic restoration. The acting performances are brilliant, as you would expect from such a cast and the cinematography is amazing. The dreamy lighting and whimsical camera angles give everything a genuine feeling of being a young teenager. I’ve never watched anything else which nails quite as accurately how it feels to be a teenage girl, no mean feat given that it is all presented through the eyes of the neighbourhood boys.
It is narrated to devastating effect by Giovanni Ribisi (Sneaky Pete, Avatar: The Way of Water) and features an excellent soundtrack which sets the mood and the scene beautifully. Although the subject matter is contentious, the film isn’t ghoulish and doesnt dwell on it as such, rather it is just part of the fabric of life. It’s a very enjoyable film to watch, powerful and stays with you after the credits roll.
A must own and with new special features, this is well worth adding to your collection.
“The only way we could feel close to these girls was through these impossible excursions, which have scarred us forever, making us happier with dreams than lives.”
The Virgin Suicides ia available to buy now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD.
|Starring||James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, Scott Glenn|
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