The Virgin Suicides15¦ 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD
Nepotism has its perks, just ask Sofia Coppola. She made her first – and only – short film Lick the Star in 1998, which had her dad, Francis Ford Coppola producing, and the family film company American Zoetrope providing all the help and assistance she needed.
It was only a year later that she directed her first full feature, with an adaption of Jeffrey Eugenides' first novel The Virgin Suicides.
It’s the seventies, in a leafy Detroit suburb live the Lisbon family, with mom (Kathleen Turner) and dad (James Woods) and their five daughters.
It’s a family that becomes the focus of neighbourhood gossip when their youngest daughter, 13-year-old Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall) attempts to kill herself.
And with such a large group of young women all living under the same roof, there’s also a widespread fascination by younger members of the male of the species, who fawn over the seemingly unobtainable sisters.
But despite the strictness from their parents as to regards their movements, the sisters desire to break free from their parents grasp is all too evident, with womanhood calling to them all. But does fate have other plans for them?
So yes, it appears that Coppola’s debut is now 24 years old, which is likely to make a fair number of you feel very old indeed. But thankfully, due to advances in technology, the film has recently been restored, and is now available for the first time in the UK in 4K UHD.
That said, the film still has its signature seventies look intact, with even this version presented in a throwback soft focus.
And although it could be argued that Coppola didn’t necessarily have to work as hard for this opportunity compared to someone who, say, doesn’t have the director of Apocalypse Now as a dad, it’s what you do with that opportunity that counts.
It’s a film that still has an impact, especially with the weighty subject matter it deals with.
Although the film centres on five young sisters - which included Kirsten Dunst as one of them, in one of her most prominent roles as a young adult since her breakout role in 1994’s An interview With a Vampire there’s an air of mystery and intrigue around them all, with even the story being told from a male perspective, from one of the young men who fell under their spell.
And as well as Dunst, there are solid performances from both Wood and Turner, as you would expect from such pros, as well as a memorable role from a young Josh Hartnett as the high school lothario Trip Fontaine.
So as much as we may want to know what’s going on in their collective heads, their inner most thoughts are out of reach, which only adds to the myriad of questions that come with it.
And considering its age, it holds up as an impressive piece of filmmaking from the young Coppola, on all fronts.
It deals with themes such as when does a protective parent become overbearing, as well as the innocence of youth and its impending decay from adulthood.
A thought-provoking debut then, with a fascinating story that has stood the test of time remarkably well.