Based on the best-selling novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides is director Sofia Coppola’s evocative debut feature of young love, sex, loss and family pressures in mid-1970s America. Acclaimed by both critics and audiences on release, the film is now viewed as a remarkable and bold feature by a significant female director addressing many issues related to youth, female sexuality and family.
This book helps readers understand the film’s significance and the stylistic and storytelling choices made by director Coppola. The analysis of the film occurs around three interlocking arguments: the unusual structuring absence in the film, the intricate manner through which music is used in the drama, communication and character creation, and the film’s careful and specific referencing of advertising in the 1970s (the decade of the film’s narrative). The film’s enigmatic structure and unique storytelling devices and their relationship to female adolescence, sexuality and ideology are also considered in depth. Without solving the mysteries of the film, the book is designed to uncover the reasons why the film continues to fascinate viewers so many years after its release.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: 1990s Indie Cinema and the Path to The Virgin Suicides
Chapter 2: Next Gen Coppola: Legacy, Loss and the Burden of Biography
Chapter 3: The Enigma of The Virgin Suicides
Chapter 4: Music, Storytelling and Young Love
Chapter 5: The Advertising Aesthetic and Youth Culture of The Virgin Suicides
Chapter 6: Sofia Coppola: The Virgin Suicides, Identity and Difference
Justin Wyatt is Associate Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. He teaches in Communication Studies and Film/Media. He is the author of High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood and co-editor of Contemporary American Independent Film: From the Margins to the Mainstream.