Virgin Suicides, The
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -1

In this haunting tale by first-time director Sofia Coppola, the mysterious Lisbon sisters draw the attention of four neighborhood boys. One boy narrates the story of the sisters, which begins with the attempted suicide of the youngest, Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall). Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon (James Woods and Kathleen Turner) seek help for their youngest daughter, but it proves to be for naught as she again attempts suicide and succeeds. The intriguing lives of the four remaining sisters are then explored, in the aftermath of Cecilias act, through the memories of the neighborhood boys. Therefore, the mystery and myth surrounding the girls grows, as the boys work with only bits and pieces of information and hearsay. On one amazing night, the girls are allowed to attend the homecoming dance, but afterwards, in the light of 14-year-old Luxs (Kirsten Dunst) turn to promiscuity, the strict Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon crack down even harder on the girls. This leads to an act so incredible that its memory will always remain with the boys. This mesmerizing film communicates the sense of mystery that surrounds the tragic lives of these girls. But due to its limited release, many will not see it. However, those who do are sure to enjoy this engrossing story.

While the main thrust of the movie explores suicide, the message communicated is the pointlessness of the act. The sisters are shrouded in mystery throughout the film, just as those involved in real-life suicides of a close friend or family member. As in the real world, when suicide occurs in this movie, the audience is left asking why? Those still living can never truly understand what torments and drives people to be able to take their own life. The film is rated R, which seems to be for two reasons. First, a brief sexual encounter between Lux and a fellow student, although both are fully clothed, is still graphically explicit. The other reason for the rating surrounds the heavy thematic content of the film. It portrays teens taking their own lives, as well as engaging in drinking, sex, smoking, and drugs. While these activities are neither overly frequent nor incredibly explicit, the movie is definitely intended for a more mature and adult audience. For these same activities, Preview downgrades the moral acceptability of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., LA, CA 90038

Crude Language: Few (2) times Moderate
Obscene Language: Once (s-word)
Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 2 (G, C sake); Exclamatory 1 (Oh J)
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Once (unmarried couple, almost completely clothed with motions)
Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Few times - (bikini top)
Homosexual Conduct: Once (teen characters father portrayed as homosexual)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (references to sex)
Drug Abuse: Many times (smoking, alcohol, marijuana use)
Other: Suicide portrayed as pointless; media portrayed as uncaring and always looking for sensational stories; Catholic family prays over meal
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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