After seeing the film The Virgin Suicides, I found myself asking the question why. While talking to other students about the film again came the question, why? Why would these girls, with so much to look forward to, commit suicide? This question, “why” is the central theme of the whole film. Hearing many opinions on the film, I asked myself, what was the most disturbing aspect of this film? Focusing on the subtly disturbing manner in which the film is told and again asking why. I came to the conclusion that the most disturbing part of this film isn’t so much the girls committing suicide, but the fact that we don’t know why they do it.
Like the boy’s across the street, we are not content with what happens, we feel cheated, like it’s all a horrible inside joke and we just don’t get the punch line. The first time the boys go into the house, they look around as if they were in the house of a dead idol, like the smaller pieces of the girl’s lives are going to tell them something they haven’t yet considered. The way they steal Cecilia’s diary and try to imagine what the girls were thinking. The way they sit with the telescope pointed at the roof across the street, watching like confused children, which essentially is what they were. These are some of the more obvious voyeuristic scenes, but there are so many more. The film could almost be a beginners guide to stalking.
All the boys were obsessed with the Lisbon girls. They wanted to know what they were doing, where they were, who they were, and most of all, why. The one time Lux let one of the boys get close enough to answer some of these questions, he momentarily looses interest and leaves her at the football field. Which poses the question, were the boys fascinated with these girls because they were unique and interesting, or did they only want what they couldn’t have, the forbidden fruit.
The bars of isolation put firmly into place by the Lisbon mother is what creates this aura of mystery around these girls. Her strict enforcement of the conservative lifestyle only adds fuel to the girl’s new found sexual fire. Like the boys, the girls only want to discover the unknown. And for the Lisbon’s, the unknown is the opposite sex. Unfortunately, the girls are still children. But the ideas and feelings they posses are adult. So, how does a child live like a child, even though this child has the same desires and emotions as an adult? The children of, both boys and girls in this film are being asked to grow up in many ways before they are ready to. The only time they are expected to act like they are still children is when the topic is sex.
The daughters refuse to go down that path, however, and instead find a way to remain forever young and free from their mother’s influence. What’s worse, having children who don’t always behave, or not having children at all?