The Next Reel • Season 11 • Series: Coming of Age Debuts • The Virgin Suicides, d: Sofia Coppola (2000)

The Virgin Suicides

Our ‘Coming of Age Debuts’ series continues! This week, we’re taking on Sofia Coppola and her debut feature film ‘The Virgin Suicides.’ It’s a hallucinatory, haunting film about memory and growing up. We had a great time revisiting it and have a great conversation about it, so check it out then tune in!

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“Cecilia was the first to go.”

Sofia Coppola had made a few short films in the mid nineties, but it was reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ 1993 novel “The Virgin Suicides” that convinced her she wanted to be a director. She wrote the adaptation on spec after reading it because she saw so clearly how she wanted to tell it, and despite some challenges with the rights, got it made. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘Coming of Age Debuts’ series with Coppola’s 2000 film The Virgin Suicides.

There’s plenty to discuss with The Virgin Suicides

It’s a dreamy, hallucinatory film told through narration and a pseudo-documentary style. How well does that work for us? Does the style fit the type of story about memory and reflections? And how well does the filmmaking style speak to Coppola as a first-time feature filmmaker?

It’s clear that Coppola had a vision with this story. The cinematography, production design, costume design, hair and makeup, music, and editing all fit perfectly with this view on teen angst in the 70s. The actors work well to convey the story as well. Who stands out?

What is the film saying about suicide? How does that tie in with Coppola’s messages about the challenges of life as a teenager? And her themes on looking back to your youth?

There’s a lot to digest with this film. It worked well for the two of us, but it’s a challenging film that may not be for everyone, particularly with its languid pacing. Still, we had a great time and a great conversation. So check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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