The Virgin Suicides

Director: Sofia Coppola
Screenwriters: Sofia Coppola

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


As the title suggests, The Virgin Suicides is full of complicated, even contradictory, passions and emotions. It is a film which is at once poignant, darkly funny, and incisively astute about that oft-depicted period, adolescence. But Sofia Coppola has chosen to take us on a different path from most portrayals of suburban youth. The Virgin Suicides doesn't end in romanticized fable and life lived happily ever after but resonates long after it's seen.
The Lisbon girls have always been the neighborhood's most unattainable desire for the young boys who gather on the curb outside their house. They are all beautiful and fascinating, full of promise and spirit. But as we discover when the story begins, there are dark, hidden forces at work within their family. And when thirteen-year-old Cecilia throws herself from the window of their seemingly ideal home, the turmoil surrounding the reasons for her death pervades the household like a ghost. The girls' already-repressed existence due to their parents' strict rules becomes more like a prison. In the wake of the suicide, the family retreats, cut off, until finally the most romantic hunk in school convinces Mr. Lisbon to allow the glorious Lux to go to the prom, albeit accompanied by her sisters.
With a tone that evades categorizing and great music (not the obvious choices), Coppola stands the romantic comedy on its head. Deep without overphilosophizing, charming but not saccharine, The Virgin Suicides is infused with insight, a knowledge of human frailty, and a fatalistic sense of life's events.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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