The Virgin Suicides (1999): “In the end we had pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained.”

virgin_suicides_ver2Based on the amazing book by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides (1999) is director Sofia Coppola’s feature film debut. It tells the story of a group of young men who have become obsessed with the five beautiful Lisbon sisters who present as withdrawn and secretive, with highly complex private lives. The young boys watch as the sisters become increasingly isolated and confined, and they attempt to solve the mystery of the sisters, even 20 years on as they reflect on the events of the film.

I was inspired to post about this film after reading Vinnie‘s post on a particular scene of the film which I love. I adore this book, and I also adore this film. The film could be considered a perfect book-to-film translation as it’s not only very faithful to the source material, but also captures the dreamy feel of the book and its characters. Additionally, this film plays host to one of my most favourite soundtracks of all time, by the French band Air. Such a good album that gets a regular spin at my house.

But the real lure about The Virgin Suicides, for me, is the visuals – with simply gorgeous cinematography by Edward Lachman and beautiful direction by Sofia Coppola. The film looks like it’s been shot on its very own Instagram filter, with a generally warm-toned colour palette and muted colours throughout. I’m always inspired by the production and set design of this film, particularly the bedrooms of the girls, as the clutter always looks artfully arranged such that it doesn’t look a huge mess; instead, it looks like the perfect representation of the mind of a teenage girl. In terms of its visuals, The Virgin Suicides would rank very highly on my ‘most beautiful films’ list.

Please find below a selection of my favourite shots from The Virgin Suicides. There are a lot, because this is truly a visually stunning film. As always, the images are mixed up to avoid spoiling the plot!

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4/5
Watch the trailer here.

28 comments

  1. Great work Anna! I honestly cannot recall whether I have ever seen this or not. I might have to look into it!

    1. Thanks heaps Zoe! You have to see this if you haven’t already!

  2. Great review Anna, I loved those still shots 🙂

    It’s been ages since I’ve watched this and I forgot how lovely those kind of bits were.

    That postcard!!! Heart breaking.

    I watched it when I was a teenager and I read the book too. I enjoyed them both but found them very confusing as well. There was never really any reason given as to why the girls…you know.

    Haunting and beautiful though!

    1. I love those still shots as well Emma, they cast such a lyrical, dreamlike and melancholy aura around the events of the film.

    2. Thanks Emma! 🙂 I definitely agree, it is a bit confusing as to the reason for the ending of the book and film. Eugenides put a whole bunch of clues in, enough for people to have a million different theories as to why everything happened that way. I think it’s clever because it leaves the audience feeling just as mystified as the boys that are obsessed with the Lisbon girls. Pretty amazing stuff.

  3. Amazing work Anna, I feel honored with the shout out. This was such a poetic, mysterious film of stunning visuals, melancholy soundtrack and talented direction that really made an impact on me.

    1. Thank you Vinnie! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed. It really is a beautiful film.

  4. I’ve never seen this but i really like the soundtrack. Should probably watch the whole film!

    1. Definitely! The music is pretty much a perfect match for the film.

  5. Annie, great post. It makes me wish Sophia would try again soon. She really knows how to make girls/women look absolutely beautiful. She has vision and her parts are brilliant. She seems to have issues making a comprehensive whole that’s digestable. Still, I love her lineage and her talent.

    1. Thank you Cindy! 🙂 I generally like Sofia’s films, looking forward to seeing what she has next in store!

  6. I prefer the novel, but I really love how the film captures the dreamy feel––really agree with you on that one. The images you’ve chosen are amazing, and this review is so great!

    1. Thanks Elina! 😀 I really think you could pause on any frame of this film and it would look gorgeous.

  7. theipc · · Reply

    Like!!

    #shoesies
    #dunsties

    1. Double like!

      #dunsties
      #likesies

  8. Love the images you chose! This is my second movie by her, right after Lost in Translation. The soundtrack is so dreamy and atmospheric

    1. Thank you Sati! I love Lost In Translation as well. Sofia tends to pick amazing music in each of her films.

  9. Those images make me think of summer. Feel summer too. Those warm hues mixed in with the subjects sadness still hits me. This movie still holds up after all these years for me.

    Your post just reminded me how obsessed I was with the movie and book as a teenager.

    1. You’re right, the warm tones really do make it feel like summer! It especially hits me with the image of Cecilia writing in her diary in the grass. That strange disconnect between the warm feeling and the dark and sad themes is a difficult one to negotiate but it’s so well expressed in the film (and book).

  10. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it too, maybe time for a re-watch!!

    1. I vote you rewatch it post haste!

  11. Sofia Coppola has really lost her touch since Lost in Translation, but this is one of her best films. Great review.

    Also, I just wanted to say that I’ve been catching up on some of your earlier reviews and I’ll be reading a lot more. I love your writing, keep up the good work!!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂 Made my day. I also think Sofia went a bit downhill after Lost In Translation, though I do enjoy Marie Antoinette because it’s so visually stunning.

  12. Great post, Anna! This is a lovely film. I also really liked the book. However, it’s the Air score I love more than anything. You’ve made me want to watch the film again now… 🙂

    1. Thanks heaps! 😀 You should watch it again! I love the score so much, Air are so amazing.

  13. Great stuff, Anna. Wonderful book, wonderful film.

    1. Thanks so much Laura! The book is just so great, Jeffrey Eugenides has such a wonderful way with words.

  14. […] what you like about Sofia Coppola, she knows how to create a beautiful-looking film. The Virgin Suicides (1999) is gorgeous, and I’ve also previously waxed lyrical about Marie Antoinette (2006), a […]

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