Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Virgin Suicides

Sofia Coppola, 1999 (7.9*)

I watched this film without knowing anything in advance, and was pleasantly surprised to find it was Sofia Coppola's first film. This starts like most other teen infatuation films, a group of male high school friends ogles a group of five sisters, each born a year apart, each with her own charms. Kirsten Dunst will be the most recognizable actress and of course has the pivotal point in the plot. The parents are the strictly religious Kathleen Turner and her whipped-into-submission husband James Woods. For awhile, you think this will be a Peggie Sue Got Married sequel, which was directed by Francis, then it abrubtly grabs you by the throat when the youngest sister hurls herself onto a fence spike rather than face her first party.

Then you know Kathleen is not Peggy Sue, but more like Carrie's mother, and from that point on, the film is decidedly a drama about actions and consequences. In a way, it's like a modern Jane Austen family gone totally dysfunctional. The story by Jeffrey Eugenides from his novel has been filmed by Coppola in a non-preachy, low key style that leaves much to the audience, it will appear as deep or as shallow as the viewer's interpretation. Coppola co-wrote the screenplay, and father Francis Ford produced, but I think her direction here showed a lot of promise, and she won a few awards, mostly for first film or new filmmaker.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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