4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Sofia's freshmen project is to be commended,
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides [DVD]  (DVD)A lot viewer's know that Sofia Coppola is not much of a great actress, but she seems to have inherited some of her father's talents in this film. Coppola knows how to get the best from her actors and a few "coming of age" films have the sensual, dream-like quality as this 1974 look at upper middle class American suburbia.
Written and directed by her, this mesmerizing account of adolescent sexual socialization (set in the posh suburbs of 1974 Detroit) has a bittersweet quality, yet is tragic as well. A group of young teenage boys come into contact with five bewitchingly beautiful teenage sisters in their affluent neighborhood. Each savor the short time they have with these girls, who are extremely overprotected by their devout Catholic parents (Woods and Turner).
Humorous, sensual, and highly evocative of "boy-meets-girl awkwardness" as seen through the boys' eyes, this film is a tribute to an American way of life not unlike "American Beauty". However, the dreaminess comes to an abrupt end... an "awakening", if you will... by the boys as they come to grips with a tragedy they are barely able to comprehend Sofia Coppola is an immensely talented filmmaker. She recreates the 70's era effortlessly, and allows the characters to all be real people instead of mere thumbnail sketches.
While this movie might lack a standard plot structure it succeeds dramatically in capturing the mood and feel of a certain generation. Obviously this movie will speak loudest to those who experience adolescence in the seventies but it also communicates strongly to all people recollecting that period of their lives. The great tragedy imparted in this movie is that of young beauty extinguished and the fruitless search to discover how this crime against nature could have occurred.
The cinematography is beautiful, never distracting but always full of genuinely real images, which served to offset the hallucination tone of the movie. There is a relaxed pace to the film, and I was drawn into the hazy, misty memories that make up the bulk of the story.