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The Virgin Suicides (1999)

tomatometer

76

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 95
Fresh: 72 | Rotten: 23

Sofia's successful directorial debut lies in the movie's compelling story and the actors' genuine emotions.

95

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 1

Sofia's successful directorial debut lies in the movie's compelling story and the actors' genuine emotions.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 190,476

My Rating

Movie Info

A dark comedy punctuated by moments of drama, The Virgin Suicides explores the emotional underpinnings of a family starting to come apart at the seams in 1970's Midwestern America. The Lisbons seem like an ordinary enough family; Father (James Woods) teaches math at a high school in Michigan, Mother (Kathleen Turner) has a strong religious faith, and they have five teenage daughters, ranging from 13-year-old Cecilia (Hannah Hall) to 17-year-old Therese (Leslie Hayman). However, the Lisbon

R,

Drama

Sofia Coppola

Dec 19, 2000

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (99) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (23) | DVD (22)

A surprisingly intricate struggle with absence, grief, and memory.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sofia Coppola tackles the issue of teenage suicide with an assured treatment in The Virgin Suicides, effectively employing a seriocomic tone.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A very curious and eclectic piece of work.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The tone of wistful regret and longing doesn't preclude a good deal of gentle humour. It's a restrained, subtly suggestive piece which disintegrates if you try to get a fix on it.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A disarmingly poetic - and specifically female - vision of adolescence that it belongs in a category of its own.

December 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lovely, luminous dream.

January 1, 2000
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intense, imperfect movie about teen suicide.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Sofia Coppola's compelling, ethereal fable about adolescent loss of innocence is claustrophobic and uncomfortable, but profoundly affecting and gently funny. "The Virgin Suicides" advises teen years are sometimes best remembered as a long-ago vacation.

November 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Sofia Coppola's adaptation of Jeffery Eugenides' 1993 novel plays like a sweet, sad dream.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

It's yet another case of blame-the-parents, and, more precisely, blame-the-overprotective-mother.

July 24, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (4)
eFilmCritic.com

An assured feature debut, this darkly humorous exploration of a tough subject benefits from an original narrative and the fact that the appealing cast consists of actors who are the same age as the characters they play.

October 21, 2006
EmanuelLevy.Com

The strongest directorial debut of the year.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A rather stunted and sliggish exercise in style whose sporadically haunting visual quality doesn't make up for its shallowness and ponderous pace.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

A stellar debut feature from Sofia Coppola and it's a must see.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Concentration on either the writing or the direction, but not both, may have spawned a better film from first-timer Sofia C.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Mergulhando com sensibilidade na amargura do universo adolescente, com seus anseios e frustrações, Coppola estréia de forma memorável na direção.

January 26, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Coppola's direction engagingly avoids the coming-of-age cliches and the film boasts an excellent performance from Kirsten Dunst.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Black comedy has never looked so good.

May 14, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

If missteps hold the film back from achieving the full grandeur it aims for, there is no denying the way it conjures a magic-realist American suburbia, rarely before brought so convincingly to life.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

If [Coppola's] debut film is any indication, talent does run in the family -- even if it is a somewhat disjointed talent.

November 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Pitch.com
Pitch.com

In the end, the strengths of the movie are overwhelmed by what is pretentious, unplugged and boring to boot.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer | Comments (2)
Cincinnati Enquirer

Audience Reviews for The Virgin Suicides

At first glance, it might seem like this is some flowery chick flick based on a piece of estrogen soaked chick lit. That is actually not the case at all, and I was pleasantly surprised by what this really turned out to be. It just amazes me that it took me this long to finally start getting into the films of Sofia Coppola.

The story takes place in 1970s suburban Minnesota and is about the seemingly normal yet highly reserved and mysterious Roman Catholic Lisbon family- led by the old fashioned homemaker mom and math teacher father, and featuring five gorgeous daughters all of whom range in age from 13-17.

The film is an examination of this family, and the eventual suicides of all five girls told in retrospect from the points of view of various neighbors, especially a group of boys whose infatuations and fascinations with the girls only increases as the girls' parents try to keep them more and more secluded and sheltered. The material sounds dark, and it is, but the tone and the way it is handled makes the film very watchable, even ethereal thanks to the score and cinematography.

The film is really best looked at as a darkly comedic dramedy punctuated by satire and subtext. I've not read the book, but research tells me that the film is rather faithful (especially in spirit) to the source material even that the latter has an unconventional narrative structure. Also, I'm sure the book further elaborates on the elements of subtext, if not making them a bigger focus.

I found this to be a very enjoyable and dreamlike film, and, though it is really good, it seems even more so considering that it was the feature length debut of Sofia Coppola. For this to be a debut is a pretty good sign, and, though her career has had a few ups and downs, I'd still like to think that Coppola remains an important director, just like how her father used to be (but unfortunately still isn't).

James Woods and Kathleen Turner are sublime as Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon, Kirsten Dunst, Hanna R. Hall, Chelse Swain, A.J. Cook, and Leslie Hayman are all really good as the Lisbon sisters, Josh Hartnett showed some real star potential as Trip the love interest of Dunst's Lux, and Giovanni Ribisi hits all the right notes and puts in fantastic work as the film's narrator, conveying a great sense of both maturity and youthful wonder.

I think this is a very solid film, and I really enjoyed it, though I don't think it's quite a masterpiece. Some might find the film's conclusion unsatisfying, but, without getting into it, I think that might have been the point. This is one of those cases where it's not about the destination but the journey, and I love those types of situations (for the most part). I could have used more detail, but at the same time, I loved the subtlety and the way the film used imagery, music, and sometimes silence to provide the answers instead of just outright saying it, although even this technique isn't always totally subtle.

Bah. I'm rambling. I apologize. I must say I'm impressed that not only is this film not a chick flick, but it''s got a nice sense of nostalgia and depth. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy a film about suicide, and, though the film does have its somber moments, it's filled with good sequences, evidence of real talent, and hits a tone that makes it all work. Give this one a look. It's pretty good.
January 2, 2014
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A dark psychological drama disguised as a comedy about an offbeat, mysterious family, specifically their five girls and how their parents (James Woods, Kathleen Turner) start to take their hands off their leashes after one of the girls (Hanna Hall) takes her life. This includes involving more males their own age into the picture as suggested by their psychologist (Danny DeVito) in hopes of getting them more socially acclimated. This movie, like its characters, is a puzzle. In one way, you feel like it leaves a lot to be desired in how it does not get you inside the heads of it characters. However, in another sense, you get the feeling that is exactly what director Sofia Coppola was aiming for, a true outsider's perspective of the whole situation. It is far from perfect, but the acting is definitely outstanding, especially Kirsten Dunst as one of the girls who does not know how to handle her newfound sense of freedom. Be warned, while it is darkly funny in spurts, this is a sad, depressing film about family and keeping ones kid's sheltered for too long. With that said, it is an effective movie that will not leave your mind quickly.
December 10, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Dark, fascinating, and beautifully filmed, The Virgin Suicides is a memorable and haunting Suburban flick. Its haunting cinematography and its nostalgic reflections on teen life and teen romance produce a work of art that is sad, yet nonetheless beautiful despite its challenging and bizarre storyline.
June 30, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Darkly funny in places and truly moving in others with a bewitching central performance from Kirsten Dunst. Full review later.
October 29, 2012
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

    1. Trip Fontaine: You're a stone fox.
    – Submitted by Kara C (20 months ago)
    1. Dr. Hornicker: What are you doing here honey? You're not even hold enough to know how bad life gets.
    2. Cecilia: Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl.
    – Submitted by Aneth F (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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