The Virgin Suicides

November 20, 2014


I found this film by Sophia Coppola to be much more enjoyable than my first experience with her, with the acclaimed Lost in Translation. In The Virgin Suicides, we have the examination of the shackling of female sexuality, and at the very least the expressivity of what this means to blossoming young women. It must be mentioned that this is a categorical example of the benefit of female participation in the cultivation of culture through the arts. For it is physically impossible for a male artist to create such an artwork, for he physically lacks the possession of the subjectivity of what it means to be a teenage girl.


Yet this is not to say a man cannot write telling female teenagers. They will, I contend, still be mechanisms in a grander device than the vehicle itself. The male artist has no impulse to will to untangle in the chaos of his human experience the utter frustration of becoming sexually reproductive and yet having this instinct repressed. The film makes this historical tendency in human culture absolutely absurd, but not to the point of creating a flawed work. The Reductio Ad Absurdum is the film’s purpose, and it lays the blame of denouncing female sexuality in several possible places. The most obvious place to start is with not the Catholic religion with its obvious disposition toward denouncing anything humanely instinctual, but with the practicing mother of this religion. The concoction is the prime suspect, as even the father of the girls gladly, unconventionally, allows his daughters to engage with the opposite sex. I don’t want to pry into the exact reason the mother is so irrationally guarded against male sexuality – I doubt this is a woman who experienced rape and a broken heart and a feeling of losing her virginity to the wrong person does not lead to such a crippling psychological disorder to place upon her offspring. A fair guess would be her shame in being loose enough to force an abortion, and she feels it is her duty to never let her daughters commit the same sin.


Regardless to the reason why the girls become enigmas to the boys, what Ms. Copolla diagnosis further is the proletariat dictatorship in all of its splendor – that being an incapability of cultivating a culture of self-sufficiency, i.e. ownership. The film takes place at the beginning of the decline of Motown, with several decades of wealth produced by the auto factories attracting a stolid labor force and a sense of restlessness that any suburban adolescent prisoner feels – which is an artificial habitat, built towards dying well. These workers are not striving for anything higher, which would be necessarily in the direction of fulfilling their being at its highest, and thus to own their own labor. I say this with a very orthodox Marxian appeal, because I seek to deride the absurdity of the philosophical religion. This is a proletariat society Ms. Copolla is depicting, despite the fact they live with such privilege.


They have the freedom to quote liberate themselves, but prefer to live meekly and thus providing teenage angst so typically felt. But even further, accompanying this lack of willfulness to perfect or become perfections, is the incompetence in the concept of ownership, particularly with their children. I won’t bother conveying the significance of inheritance and the transferal of possessions in humanity – history is progressive for this very simple and powerful fact, much like how science progresses. What we witness with The Virgin Suicides is a plausible consequence of the Last Man denying living, denying embracing his humanity which involves sexual endeavor, and even sexual pleasure. Yes, it is common for vulgarity to emerge in this era wherein the sexual pleasure becomes an idolatrous practice. But originally, The Virgin Suicides showcases the inability for the proletariat to emerge as masters of themselves and therefore is an outlet of the fear and doubt of the unknowable future – the fear of becoming transcendent.


Grade: A



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