The Virgin Suicides (1999) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods
Rated: R/Region A/1:67/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from The Criterion Collection
A group of male friends becomes obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid-1970s.
The Virgin Suicides was a film that at times could be very surreal in its delivery. It was released in 1999, was directed by Sofia Coppola, and is now hitting Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection. I think sometimes in life certain things just line up and this seems to be the case with The Virgin Suicides. Based off a book this was a movie that was in development before it finally hit the hands of Sofia and I think it was a thing that was just the right place at the right time because her vision makes this what it is. This is a story that deals with a family where a group of kids all committed suicide. That isn’t a spoiler as this is stated in the opening of the film. It all starts when the youngest sister of the group tries to kill herself and then she finally succeeds. This causes the parents (played by James Woods and Kathleen Turner) to get really protective of the kids. But when they give them a shot and things don’t go as planned it gets worse. We then see the boys hanging out across the street and the interesting way they go about making contact. Most of the film just so happens to be one of the boy’s accounts of what happened.
In the middle of all this chaos is actress Kirsten Dunst. I’d call her performance as Lux (One of the young girls) to be one of the better performances you’ll find from her and she’s got more than just a few good ones under her belt. This is a well-acted film all around but she makes this movie along with the overall trippy vibe of it at times what it ends up being. Toss in a good soundtrack and we have a film that is very much worthy of joining the ranks of The Criterion Collection. The film looks really good in HD but there is a bit of a yellow tent to the look of the film. I’m sure this was an artistic choice and is supposed to be this way but I do wonder if the movie wouldn’t pop a bit more in HD without the stylish choice. The disc also packs all the cool extras you’ve come to expect with the making of’s and interviews, but this one also comes with Sofia Coppola’s first short film, Lick the Star. This is a little black and white flick, but you can see shades of what she would go on to do later in it. Overall, it is a very cool release for a very well-made film.
– Revisiting “The Virgin Suicides”
– Interview with Jeffrey Eugenides
– Strange Magic: writer Tavi Gevinson addresses some of the main themes in The Virgin Suicides
– Making “The Virgin Suicides”
– “Lick the Star”: Short film from Director Sophia Coppola
– Music video for Air’s song “Playground Love”
– Leaflet: An illustrated leaflet featuring an essay by novelist Megan Abbott