The Virgin Suicides
“What are you doing here honey? You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets”.
“Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl”
It’s 1975 in the suburbs of Michigan when the youngest of five sisters, Cecilia Lisbon, slits her wrists in the bathtub. The strictly religious Lisbon parents react by tightening the reigns on the remaining sisters, confining them to the house and shutting them off from the rest of the community. We follow the Lisbon sister’s attempts to navigate their passage from adolescence to womanhood through the observations of the neighbourhood boys, who are on their own quest to figure out these unattainable, mysterious sisters.
This masterful coming-of-age film raises themes of miscommunication, lack of understanding, and the detrimental effects of the male gaze. The sisters are glorified as objects of desire, seen as sources of disorder. They treated as enigmas, when perhaps what they need most is to be taken seriously as individuals with needs, desires, and flaws.
The Virgin Suicides was Sofia Coppola’s debut feature film, followed by Lost in Translation, as well as the beginning of her collaboration with actress Kirsten Dunst.