The strange tale of the Lisbon sisters, five beautiful but troubled suburban teenagers.
A male narrator speaks about the time, 25 years ago, when he and his friends knew the beautiful Lisbon sisters who lived in an exclusive suburb of Detroit. There were five of them, aged between 13 and 17, and were carefully reared by their possessive, repressed parents, played by James Woods and Kathleen Turner. Cecilia, (Hanna Hall), was the first to exhibit suicidal tendencies... This strange, haunting film is the first directed by Sofia Coppola, and she adapted it from the book by Jeffrey Eugenides. Partly a satire on this refined, sterile suburban world, partly nostalgic memories of a time of innocence which was rudely shattered, part romance, part a kind of mystery, and part the most painful tragedy, the film encompasses many disparate themes with a fair degree of assurance, though towards the end, the tension slackens somewhat. Kirsten Dunst as Lux, the most developed of the sisters, gives a most beautiful performance encompassing teenage vulnerability and sexuality, innocence and wildness, while Woods and Turner effectively underplay the roles of the hopeless parents. A somewhat uneven but amazingly resonant film.. Margaret`s Comments: Sophia Coppola`s screen debut as writer/director is ostensibly the story of the suicides of five daughters of a repressed Catholic family in Michigan in the mid-1970`s. But their deaths are less important than their existence for the boys who spy into their fortressed home from the house opposite. They are the objects of teenage male desire, their deaths tied up with a later nostalgia for the time before innocence is lost. We never really get to know or understand the young women, although Lux - Kirsten Dunstan - glows briefly with innocence and a questing sexual allure that leads to a brief and terminal collision with reality. jock. There is something unsatisfying about the film, there`s a coldness, a distancing from the characters because in fact the girls never really exist except in the boys` imagination and we never really get to know the boys either except through Giovanni Ribisi`s extensive voice-over narration. There is one delightful scene where they communicate by pop songs but it`s a moment of rare emotional connection. Kathleen Turner and James Woods threaten to imbalance the film by their delicate insightful performances. The Virgin Suicides ultimately misses being grounded by reality so that an air of detachment prevails.