THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999)

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Christopher

I wanted to watch this cause I just finished reading the book. I loved the book! It’s definitely written in a way that I’m excited to read more Jeffery Eugenides books. I saw this movie in 9th grade I think so I really didn’t remember a lot. I thought the movie did an incredible job representing the book. It hit all the key plot points but also had a bunch of little things that are just mentioned or even just shown in the movie, where in the book they have big back stories dedicated to them. READ THE BOOK!

Elizabeth

I don’t know how many times I’ve read The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, but I would guess I’ve probably read it more than any other novel. I first read it back in the sixth grade, which probably sounds a little too young, but considering I didn’t stop there and continually re-read it in middle school and high school, it really was perfect. I had never read a book before (or since, really), that I felt so close to and identified with so much.

Subsequently, I don’t know how often I’ve seen the movie version of The Virgin Suicides, but I’ve definitely seen it a lot. It’s by far one of my favorite (and I think most faithful) film adaptations I’ve ever seen, because it so successfully distills the book down to a more manageable amount of information for the movie, without losing anything. There’s all these references in the movie that tie back to elements of the book, like how Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett) wears the shell necklace in the movie that he wears in the book, where we receive a whole back story to the necklace, like how it was given to him by the older woman whom he lost his virginity to. That kind of side story doesn’t really fit in the movie, but by keeping the necklace on Trip, it maintains true to the character.

One of the best things the movie accomplishes is keeping the feeling of the novel completely intact in the movie. The feeling of the novel is so distinct and yet so vague, maybe partly because I’ve read it so many times, but it’s this sort of bright, yet hazy, sad and nervous feeling. The movie sometimes goes back and forth between being dimly lit and filled with bright sunlight, which matches the novel perfectly.

You certainly don’t have to read the book to enjoy the movie, but if you’re really into one, you should definitely see/read the other. It’s beautiful and made me really jealous that both Sofia Coppola (I’m not counting her acting here) and Jeffrey Eugenides could make their big artistic debuts with something like The Virgin Suicides.

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