Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Virgin Suicides – 1999

virgin_suicides_ver2_xlgTeenage girls are a strange breed; American teenage girls are even stranger. There have been countless films dealing with the struggles these pour souls endure on a day-to-day basis, and more often than not, it’s the same recycled story with a different cast.
The directorial approach of Sofia Coppola has divided the masses, with the majority taking a disliking to her prodding, tiresome style; personally, I tend to agree.
Needless to say, “The Virgin Suicides”, Coppala’s take on a contemporary teen drama, is no radical departure from the norm.

An adaptation of the 1993 Jeffrey Eugenides novel and starring Kirsten Dunst, “The Virgin Suicides” focuses on a group of troubled teenage sisters and a collection of male obsessors who become increasingly involved in these girls’ lives.
The Lisbon’s lead a difficult life (as far a teenager is concerned that is), full of regiment, religion and restriction, and it’s after they take matters into their own hands, that the obsessing boys get dragged into more serious matters, matters out of their control.

“The Virgin Suicides” was recommended by a friend of mine who basically told me to go in with an open mind. She was perplexed by the film and therefore I was intrigued to check it out. Hoping for a stylistic picture that could be interpreted in numerous ways, I was left impatient, fed up and to be honest, rather restless towards the film’s climax.
It started off quite well, with some bold imagery and some deadpan voice over to match, but as each scene dragged on and on, interest and investment deteriorated rapidly.
There are some good performances scattered within the picture, particularly that of James Woods’ character of Ronald Lisbon, an awkward, endearing father and teacher, but there aren’t any major contenders when it comes to overall brilliance.
It may boil down to personal preference, but when it comes to teen romance dramas with serious undertones and messages, “The Virgin Suicides” epitomises not only the genre, but why they can be so incredibly tiresome. 

How this is the 262nd greatest film ever made is beyond me personally. According to Empire Magazine, “The Virgin Suicides” is by default, according to it’s place, a better film than “The Maltese Falcon”, “Grease”, “Scarface”, “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” and “Trainspotting”; give me a break!
Virgin-Suicides-josh-hartnett-123540_1429_1000There are films that come along that make me truly question why I look to this list as solid guidance for a quality motion picture, “The Virgin Suicides” is one of them.
With idiotic central female psychopaths and a leading boy character sporting a haircut straight out of “No Country for Old Men”, what’s not to cringe at?

Not expecting a great deal and not getting much in return, “The Virgin Suicides” did not impress and began to get frustrating all too quickly. In the right place, the right time and the right mindset, it may have been a better experience, however the overall Sofia Coppola atmosphere that is so easy generated doesn’t accommodate someone like me for all that long.
Before I know it I’m somewhere else, or at least trying my hardest to escape so I can be somewhere else.

Give it a go, see what you think, but this is certainly not worthy of the 262 spot…


Recommended By Rebecca Todesco


4 comments on “The Virgin Suicides – 1999

  1. Noémie
    October 29, 2014

    It is so worth the 262nd spot !! One of the movies about teenagers that really shaped my teenage years with Donnie Darko, Mysterious Skin, Fight Club, Dead poet sociey or CRAZY.
    I love everything about that movie. How slow it is, the neighbours vision, the music (and not only because it’s French). It’s my favourite Sofia Coppola’s movie (“Somewhere” being second) and I still consider it among my favourite movies.

  2. wmsteele
    October 29, 2014

    Can you honestly say that it’s a better film than say “The Maltese Falcon” though?
    “The Elephant Man” is 100 places below this – Absolute joke!
    I look to this list as a solid guide, but please. Just no…

    • Noémie
      October 29, 2014

      Never watched The Maltese Falcon and I liked Elephant Man but would not be in my favourites.
      Although I don’t take that list as a solid guide. I don’t think you could ever have a solid list. That’s what is good (kind of) about movies: Everybody can see them differently and even if I get frustrated when poeple don’t like my favourite movies…well they are MY favourite movies.

      • wmsteele
        October 29, 2014

        Yeah you’re exactly right! Personal preference and opinion is everything.
        Thats why we debate about different films and stuff, but ultimately, nobody is wrong or right haha ☺️

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