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Critics reviews
The Virgin Suicides
Sofia Coppola United States, 1999
Sofia Coppola’s brilliant first feature, the poetic, tragic and enigmatic The Virgin Suicides, captures the ambiguity of such hazy recollections with tender, albeit, at times, horrifying wistfulness and pain.
May 12, 2019
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Coppola tells the story with a great deal of sympathy for the boys who remain marked for life by their encounters with the Lisbons, while nonetheless revealing their ongoing delusions with wit and insight.
October 05, 2018
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In the hazy, dreamy, poisonous world of The Virgin Suicides, language is limiting, even imprisoning, while greater, more profound truths lie beyond narration, in the visual, in the experiential, the imaginative.
April 18, 2018
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With period-appropriate pop music (deployed perfectly, as only Coppola can do) creating moments of unadulterated joy amid an otherwise painful nostalgia, The Virgin Suicides is a loss of innocence and high-school film tonally distinct from and much wiser than most.
April 06, 2016
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A moody and mysterious suburban tragedy that uses the suicides of five blonde sisters as a means of exploring the fundamental unknowability of other people. High on 70s swagger and set to Air’s impossibly perfect score (more on the infinite pleasures of “Playground Love” later this week), “The Virgin Suicides” anticipated Coppola’s fascination with celebrity culture by exploring it on a local level, using a high school setting to reconcile the twin forces of myth and maturation
June 11, 2013
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Coppola joins a deliciously evocative batch of period Top Forty tunes to flashes of backlit cinematography to summon the characters’ lost world, with its stifled experience and receding fantasies. What remains tantalizingly out of reach for the girls—as for the boys who have lost them—is ordinary life. Already, with her first film, Coppola was a master at rendering inner depths startlingly, straightforwardly visual.
January 01, 2010
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Although Edward Lachman’s gorgeous cinematography contributes to the film’s nostalgic glam, Coppola’s dreamy paean to stilted adolescence has a universal appeal. Gracefully surreal, the film says as much about the mysteries of female sexuality as it does about what lies behind troubled picket fences.
May 02, 2001
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Aided immeasurably by a beautiful score by the French techno duo Air, Coppola creates an atmosphere that’s hypnotic, unsettling, and evocative in design. But she never gets inside the heads of her characters—individually or as a group—so nothing substantial is learned about them over the course of the film. As a rare anti-coming-of-age story, The Virgin Suicideshas a distinct allure, but in depicting the “imprisonment of being a girl,” it remains separated by the bars.
May 12, 2000
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Altogether a mixed bag, The Virgin Suicidesis nevertheless a noteworthy debut. Coppola proves herself a director of burgeoning talent, as well as a sensitive screenwriter. If her 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.
May 01, 2000
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Leave it to a woman to boil all the excess, leaden moisture out of Eugenides’ book and leave just the bare-bones poetry. Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of “The Virgin Suicides” — it’s her directorial debut, and she also adapted the screenplay — captures the loveliest visuals and bits of language from Eugenides’ book and faithfully, but not slavishly, transfers them to the screen.
April 21, 2000
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In the context of contemporary American film, The Virgin Suicides sets off all manner of red flags—suburbia, the ‘70s, teens. But the movie (thanks to its writer-director’s empathic, intelligent reading of the novel) approaches its themes obliquely, averting kitsch and cheap irony. Coppola looks beyond the seductive metaphysical puzzle and locates the core of Eugenides’s allegory in an obsessive, almost forensic act of remembering, both futile and inexplicably essential.
April 18, 2000
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A very curious and eclectic piece of work — fresh even when it’s awkward — that’s built around an unsolved mystery, like Picnic at Hanging Rock.
March 27, 2000
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