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May 1, 2024

Hanna R. Hall, Kirsten Dunst, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman and Chelse Swain in Promo Shots for “The Virgin Suicides” (1999)

The Virgin Suicides is a 1999 American psychological romantic drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola in her feature directorial debut, and co-produced by her father, Francis Ford Coppola. The film is based on the 1993 debut novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. The film follows the lives of five adolescent sisters in an upper-middle-class suburb of Detroit during 1975.

Set in the 1970s, this is the story of the five Lisbon sisters as seen through the eyes of a group of boys who worship them from across the street. As the name suggests, the story is a tragic one as the girls are driven to take their own lives. The boys attempt to explain why they think it happened, even though they admit that now, as grown men, they still don’t understand it.

The Lisbon sisters are: Cecilia, 13 (Hanna R. Hall), Lux, 14 (Kirsten Dunst), Bonnie, 15 (Chelse Swain), Mary, 16 (A.J.Cook) and Therese, 17 (Leslie Hayman). Five beautiful girls who are raised by their parents under extremely strict rules. It soon becomes clear for Mr and Mrs Lisbon that something is very wrong in the Lisbon house when Cecilia attempts to take her life, which is where the film begins. They cannot understand Cecilia’s actions – when the doctor questions her as how she's too young to experience the pain of life, she replies: “Obviously doctor, you've never been a thirteen year-old girl.”

The Virgin Suicides premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and received a limited theatrical release on April 21, 2000, in the United States, later expanding to a wide release in May 2000. The film earned largely positive reviews from critics, with the performances of the cast, Coppola’s direction, visual style, and soundtrack receiving praise. It was also acclaimed for its lyrical representation of adolescent angst, and is recognized as a cult classic. In 2015, the film ranked number 39 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the “50 Best High School Movies”.


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