(Review originally written at 10 December 2005)

"The Virgin Suicides" is a sort of mixed bag. It's a beautiful made movie with wonderful directed sequences in it but the storytelling doesn't always makes sense and is simply terrible lacking at times. A case of 'style over substance' you can perhaps conclude.

It isn't always clear in the movie where the movie is heading to. This is mainly because there are often characters introduced in the movie, who once after they are out of the story, make you wonder what exactly their purpose for the movie was. Characters come and go in this movie and once you think that they are going to play an important part for the movie, they are already gone again. The story isn't always told from the right perspective which makes this movie at times a bit incoherent to watch. This is also due to the fact that at times the movie is set in 'present time' (1999), while the rest of the movie is set in the '70's. Those sort of scene's make it pretty obvious that this movie is based on a book. I'm sure all those element worked just fine in the book but for a movie it is pointless and adds no extra value to the story. A lot of things still remain unclear after the movie has ended, which makes this movie as a whole an unsatisfying one to watch.

I also never really got into the characters. I never quite knew what went on in those girls heads and I never felt their desperateness and their cry for help. The portrayal of their parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner) was also a opportunity wasted. Instead as strict and tough parents they are portrayed as simply narrow minded people, who have their own ideas about what's good and wrong for their children. If they had portrayed the parents as two completely strict and tough persons, the movie would had become more, claustrophobic, sensible, emotional and more understandable.

The cast is good and has cameos in it from Danny DeVito and Scott Glenn and roles from Josh Hartnett and Hayden Christensen before they received real fame as actors. The movie however isn't really a character movie. The main essence of the movie is put on the style and look of it. For that reason the movie also perhaps feels a bit as a waste of a great cast.

The movie is good looking and well directed by Sofia Coppola but it seemed that they forget about the story at times. It makes "The Virgin Suicides" a bit of an incoherent movie to watch at times. Because of the lacking storytelling the movie never truly becomes emotional or truly understandable and therefor it's nothing more than a just average drama that is good looking but nothing more than that.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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