Virgin Suicides

Virgin Suicides

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Starring Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Josh Hartnett, Kirsten Dunst

Unless you did your time in the banal 70’s, you can’t imagine how refreshing the 80’s were. Uptight Mr. Lisbon (Woods) and wife Turner raise five knockout daughters, each one year apart. Five solid years of pregnancy pushed Mom to the edge, and these babes aren’t getting any if she has her way. Thirteen-year old Cecelia cracks first. Like so many amateurs, she went across the wrist, which only screws up the nerves. Go with the vein if you’re serious. A second story backflip onto the decorative Sears fence gives a solid impalement, and you’ll want to join her by the third reel. Geeky boyfriends now collect Lisbon girl memorabilia — hall passes, yearbook photos, used Tampax, the usual stuff. Please, Mom, cut some slack and it’s off to the prom until eldest Lux (Dusnst) falls asleep on the football field after wild sex with hunk Tripp (Harnett). Time to burn the Frampton albums and Slutsville, here we come. Tripp 86’s and the rest of the geek pack get an invite to the climactic suicide orgy. Hanging, gas, motor exhaust, and pills. Points for creativity, give ’em that.

Amazingly, this film does draw a strong symbolic connection between teenage suicide and the Dutch Elm plague of the 70’s. Excess KISS, velvet tuxedos, and pre-Pet Shop Boys disco pushes these girls and a tyro director a bit too far. Ungracefully aged Kathleen Turner and stunned looking James Woods seem blistered by the five daughters’ mildly rising sexuality. Five kids, and no concept of lust. Lux is nice enough, projecting a first base sexuality to Tripp’s unconvincing stoner coolness, but criminy, he’s not even convincing while smoking dope. I’ll give ’em this, though – the teenagers sort of looked like teenagers, and the 70’s looked sort of like the 70’s. Believe me, you didn’t really want to be there.

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