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THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
May 25, 2001
-->Written and Directed.....Sofia Coppola [wife of Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), daughter of Francis, neice of Talia Shire (Rocky), cousin of Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore), The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, Peggy Sue Got Married, New York Stories, The Godfather, Part III, Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, The Phantom Menace]
-->Lux Lisbon.....Kirsten Dunst [New York Stories, Little Women, Interview With The Vampire, Wag The Dog, Dick, Bring It On]
-->Trip Fontaine.....Josh Hartnett [Cracker, Pearl Harbor]
-->Mr. Lisbon.....James Woods [The Way We Were, The Onion Field, Against All Odds, Once Upon A Time In America, The Boost, Immediate Family, True Believer, The Hard Way, Straight Talk, Chaplin, The Specialist, Casino, Contact, The General's Daughter]
Interesting adaptation of one of my favorite books in that the writer/director (another Coppola) takes the material and changes it into a female-centered piece. Although the story is about a family of five attractive daughters who all kill themselves, the book focused mostly on how it affected the town and especially the boys who were smitten by them. In Coppola's hands, we see more of the inside of the Lisbons' house than we ever did in the book. It works because it's obvious that the book was special to Coppola. She loves the material. The book focused on how a pubescent crush can continue throughout a man's life. I am one of those men. It was thrilling to see someone put it down on the page as well as Jeffrey Eugenides did in the book. I recommend it highly.
The performances are all great, the music superb, and the sense of time and place authentic. Kirsten Dunst plays the sluttiest of the girls, Lux, and this is another in a long line of funky, off-beat characters that she has been playing lately. She is so absolutely charismatic that I look forward to every film she appears in.
As with any book-to-film adaptation, the reasons behind behavior are not fully fleshed out, but as a stand-alone film, it's worth a look, if only for Dunst, Hartnett, and James Woods as the goofiest dad/teacher you'll ever see.
40 Critics: 7.50