Film review: The Virgin Suicides
- By: Russell Viner
Adolescent angst, crazy psychiatrists, blood in the bath, religious repression, flares, and silly haircuts. This beautifully filmed novel about the suicides of five teenage sisters in 1970s Michigan, made by the Coppola family, fails to miss a cliché while also providing a poignant insight into suicide in young people.
Told as a verbal jigsaw puzzle by clueless adolescent lads trying to understand the horror that happened next door, the film skillfully contrasts the incomprehensibility of the girls' suicides to outsiders with an insightful portrayal of the personal powerlessness of young women in religious America.
Voyeurism is a prominent theme. The voyeurism of the lads next door echoes that of the curtain twitching, small town community, watching over coffee as the family drifts into madness and death. Nobody lifts anything more than a martini glass to save the girls, illustrating the power of the educated middle class over their children -