The Virgin Suicides

30 December 2013



I have 7000 words due in a matter of weeks.

Spotify has been my saving grace, aiding my concentration by providing me with Nick Drake when I'm feeling mellow, Nicolas Jaar when I need to be calmed down, and Nina Simone when I need some sass. It's also been the vehicle for me to listen to The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, which last night prompted me to FINALLY take a trip back in time by watching the 1999 film. I've been meaning too for a very, very long while. Like thousands of others I'm a big Sofia Coppola fan.


The beginning sets the tone of the whole film. We see the arresting beauty Cecilia, 13 years old and doe-like, wrestling with the inner demons that seek to eclipse her ethereal innocence. We do not know what has caused the inner turmoil and we never get a definitive answer. All we know is that the pain she feels eventually leads to her death, impaled on the fence that separates the five Lisbon sisters from the rest of the world. Even with the removal of the fence, the barrier remains, intensifying as their religiously devout Mother and Father clamp down on their daughters, systematically removing their every freedom. It is a dark, melancholic plot.



But the cinematography and Coppola's direction create a dream-like aura. The boys across the road, each besotted with the Aryan-like clan, send notes to them and pictures of exotic locations from catalogues so they can imagine themselves basking in the sunlight of paradise together. Though the action is bound by the sombre suburbs of Michigan, we feel like we're marauding through a fairytale. 




Josh Hartnett, in his role as schoolboy stud, Trip Fontaine, resembles a mixture of Jackie O and Karen O with his shiny bowlcut. He deserves the dig on his 'do, too, because his character is a douchebag.



Highlights of the soundtrack, put together by French band Air, include Al Green's "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" and Todd Rungren's "A Dream Goes On Forever." I've been listening to a lot of Motown, Northern Soul and more folk-y stuff recently so I very much enjoyed these songs's cameos on the score, alongside the more 70s vibes of Heart and 10cc, respectively. 


I haven't wanted to give too much away plot-wise, so I'll leave you with the above grainy representations of the beauty of the film, and this:

Through her cinematic adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Coppola puts rose-tinted glasses on Jeffery Eugenides' 1993 novel. We are taken through a Midwest fantasy world, with a backdrop of poetic narration and funky songs, seeing the monotony of smalltown, U.S.A. through a haze of fairy-dust, and the result is awe-inspiring. 

Now, enjoy yourself some Al.


                                                        



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