The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides ★★★★½

All these Sofia Coppola films I've been watching have been giving me life. Granted, The Virgin Suicides isn't my favorite of her work, but it's certainly a powerful entry in her canon. And the fact it's her first feature is nearly unbelievable. In the film, Giovanni Ribisi elegantly narrates us through the tragic tale of The Lisbon Girls. A group of teenage girls living in Michigan in 1974 under the strict rule of their mother and father. They're all desperate to get out, others more than some (Particularly Lux and Cecilia), and they'll do whatever it takes to do so. We the audience however, see this story unfold through the eyes of the teenage boys who sit across the street from the Lisbon home, and from their bedroom, observe and imagine what goes on in the lives of The Lisbon Girls. I may not have grown up in the 70's, but I do know what it's like to be a teenage boy growing up in Michigan. I have a lot of happy memories, but a few dark ones as well. None of them to do with me really, but some of the people who have come in and out of my life. I've seen friends go to the darkest depths of suburban America, and some never came back. The Virgin Suicides perfectly displays that dichotomy between the light and the dark. Just because you're a teenager, doesn't mean life is easy. I imagine there was no better person to take on this material than Sofia Coppola, for virtually all of her films are about lo lonliness, or trying to find meaning in a vapid sea of monotony. The Virgin Suicides is certainly her darkest film, although it also displays some of her most lighthearted moments. The ensemble cast really brings home these performances as well, particularly Kirsten Dunst and Kathleen Turner. Combine that with Ed Lachman's excellent cinematography and a radical score by Air; and you got yourself quite a film. The Virgin Suicides may not be perfect, but hell, life ain't perfect either. (Kirsten Dunst stares suductively at the camera and winks)

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