The Virgin Suicides
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There are some movies that you add to your movie collection just so you can pull them out on a dark, rainy day—movies that you know will put the smile right back on your face.

The Virgin Suicides is not one of those movies.

Right from the beginning, you’ll see that this movie isn’t a lighthearted coming-of-age story—as it opens with the attempted suicide of thirteen-year-old Cecilia, the youngest of five beautiful, blonde Lisbon sisters.

Told through the eyes of the grown men who were once just four neighborhood boys, drawn to the Lisbon girls in teenage obsession, the film looks back on the girls’ lives—leading up to their ultimate deaths. Viewers see the girls and their overprotective parents (played by Kathleen Turner and James Woods) from a distance, the way the neighborhood boys did: through a telescope in one kid’s bedroom, in their mothers’ hushed conversations, through the souvenirs the boys collected, in the hallways at school, from TV newscasts, and in the lights in the Lisbon house’s windows... For that reason, the character development isn’t strong—you never really get the whole story, and you never really get to know the Lisbon family personally. But, at the same time, you find yourself caught up in the obsession.

Most of the story revolves around fourteen-year-old Lux (Kirsten Dunst), the most outgoing and the least innocent of the sisters. Lux’s relationship with the smooth-talking, football-playing school hunk, Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett), opens the doors for the sisters for just a short time—when their parents allow them to go to the homecoming dance. But even as you’re watching those few moments of teenage irresponsibility and excitement, you know it can’t last. And when Lux breaks curfew after the dance, the Lisbson girls’ downward spiral only accelerates.

If you’re looking for a fun, brainless movie to help you unwind after a long day of work, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a powerful, beautifully done film, then The Virgin Suicides is just what you’re looking for. It’s not a fast-paced, heart-pounding action film. It’s not a fluffy romantic comedy. It’s subdued but not dull. It’s dramatic yet not overly emotional. It’s distanced yet not cold. It’s deep and symbolic without being confusing. It’s thought-provoking and mysterious without being obscure. It’s unique—and it’s well worth seeing (just not on a dark, rainy day).

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