Review: The Virgin Suicides

August 2nd, 2020

I’m not trying to just write reviews. There are other things to write about but reviews are a way of silencing the inner critic, by being critical. So today the inner critic is silenced by “The Virgin Suicides” from 1999, a sometimes light drama about youth, Catholicism, and, well, suicide.

I recommend this movie. I prefer to know next to nothing about movies before I see them, so I don’t want to tell you much. You should know, however, how finely crafted the film is.

“The Virgin Suicides” was written and directed by Sophia Coppola, based on the novel of the same name. Kirsten Dunst stars alongside James Woods and Kathleen Turner. Dunst’s character occupies a mixture of both real and imagined qualities, with harsh reality handled skillfully by Woods and Turner. I’ve enjoyed Woods most often as a voice actor in “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy”, and even “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Here we see a slightly aloof father that further retreats into bookishness as life becomes more difficult. Turner embodies tragedy with what she doesn’t say, clinging to an idea of family that doesn’t exist.

I’ll take a detour to talk about Catholicism in the film. There’s a lot of privilege in Catholicism, both financially and a difficult to describe privilege of piety. You’re always wrong for something, and if you transgress it’s up to you to figure it out. You’ll be given the silent treatment until you do. 2017’s also excellent “Ladybird” touches on this as well. How do you imagine people react when they’re made to feel that they’re wrong or different?

Fans of 1998’s “Rushmore” will enjoy this film’s confident humor and strong acting. Movies involving young people can easily get insipid like “American Pie”, or far too heavy like 1986’s “Lucas”. What a horrid, horrid movie “Lucas” is. “Virgin Suicides” is crafted with a more mature and skillful hand, letting actors and dialogue exist without hyperbole or fancy edits. I haven’t told you much, but this is an outstanding movie you shouldn’t wait years to see.

As of today, “The Virgin Suicides” is available freely on

$Id: review_virgin_suicides 575 2020-08-02 15:38:12Z x $

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