The Virgin Suicides Essay

762 Words 4 Pages
The Virgin Suicides

It is not important how the Lisbon sisters looked. What is important is how the teenage boys in the neighborhood thought they looked. There is a time in the adolescent season of every boy when a particular girl seems to have materialized in his dreams, with backlighting from heaven. Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides" is narrated by an adult who speaks for "we"--for all the boys in a Michigan suburban neighborhood 25 years ago, who loved and lusted after the Lisbon girls. We know from the title and the opening words that the girls killed themselves. Most of the reviews have focused on the girls. They miss the other subject--the gawky,
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First sex is ideal only in legend. In life it attaches plumbing, fluids, gropings, fumblings and pain to what was only an hour ago a platonic ideal. Trip left Lux not because he was a pig, but because he was a boy and broken with grief at the loss of his--their--dream. And when the Lisbon girls kill themselves, do not blame their deaths on their weird parents. Mourn for the passing of everyone you knew and everyone you were in the last summer before sex. Mourn for the idealism of inexperience. "The Virgin Suicides" provides perfunctory reasons that the Lisbon girls might have been unhappy. Their mother (Kathleen Turner) is a hysteric so rattled by her daughters' blooming sexuality that she adds cloth to their prom dresses until they appear in "four identical sacks." Their father (James Woods) is the well-meaning but emasculated high school math teacher who ends up chatting about photosynthesis with his plants. These parents look gruesome to us. All parents look gruesome to kids, and all of their attempts at discipline seem unreasonable. The teenage years of the Lisbon girls are no better or worse than most teenage years. This is not the story of daughters driven to their deaths. The story it most reminds me of, indeed, is "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975), about a party of young girls, not unlike the Lisbon sisters

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