Sofia Coppola, USA 1999, 97 minutes HD R16 sexual themes, content that may disturb.
Screening supported by Unity Books.
This extremely assured directorial debut from Sofia Coppola finds an unexpected perspective on what should by rights be difficult subject matter – teenage suicide. Adapting Jeffrey Eugenides' best-seller, Francis Coppola's daughter tells the story of the Lisbon sisters – five delicious blondes who set teenage hormones raging in Grosse Point, Michigan, some 20-odd years ago.
On her second suicide attempt, Cecilia impales herself on the railings outside the house. In the ensuing months, the remaining (older) sisters cast a troubling shadow over the neighbourhood, especially for the boys at school. Kept on a tight leash by their religious parents (Kathleen Turner and James Woods, both cast against type and underplaying effectively), the girls come to represent the intangible mysteries and sorrows of all women.
As a rule of thumb, one should approach any movie constructed around a metaphor with caution. Nevertheless, Coppola casts quite a spell. She has a deft sense of composition and a great ear for music (particularly an original ambient score by Air). The tone of wistful regret and longing doesn't preclude a good deal of gentle humour. It's a restrained, subtly suggestive piece which disintegrates if you try to get a fix on it. - Tom Charity, Time Out