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The Virgin Suicides



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

As remembered by the neighborhood boys still obsessed with them, we meet the five Lisbon sisters who turn to suicide to escape their insanely overprotective parents in 1970s suburbia. Based on a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. With James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, Hanna R. Hall, Chelse Swain, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman, Danny DeVito, Scott Glenn, Jonathan Tucker and Anthony DeSimone. [1:36]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - Some sexual innuendo and several kisses, some passionate. The camera pans the length of a boy lying on top of a girl as they kiss passionately and she begins to take off his shirt (it's implied they have intercourse; we see her waking up alone in the same place (a football field) the next morning. Boys use a telescope to spy on a boy and girl rolling around on a roof and, in another scene, a girl sitting on top of a boy (the boys say the couple is having intercourse; both appear to be clothed). A girl unbuckles a boy's belt as she walks past him. In one scene depicting sexual tension between two teenagers surrounded by other people, we see a close-up of a girl's foot as she rests it on a coffee table so a boy can see it; they also try to steal glances at each other behind a woman's back. A girl pulls her sweater open and exposes her shoulder (she's wearing a tank-top underneath) while looking at a boy who's looking at her; also, we see a shot underneath the table of her foot rubbing his leg (another girl sitting next to him appears to be doing the same) and she also puts her foot underneath his pant leg. Several instances of longing, flirtatious glances between boys and girls. A boy has a "sucker mark" on his neck in a scene after we see him kissing a girl. A boy tells several others he spied on some girls taking showers. The camera focuses on a girl's clothed pelvic area, then we see a small X-ray circle showing her panty-clad hip. We see a girl wearing midriff-revealing tops and a bikini during some scenes; also, we see some girls in modest nightgowns, a boy wearing a bathing suit and a boy wearing a towel wrapped around his waist (he answers the door like that and invites a girl inside; it's implied something sexual might happen, but we don't see anything).

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - We see a close-up of a girl's face as she's floating in a bath tub filled with bloody water; people lift her out of the tub (we see blood on the floor around it) and take her to the hospital, where she recovers (we later see her with bandages around her wrists). It's implied that a girl jumps out of her window and is impaled on a fence post below (we see her lying on top of the fence, but don't see any blood or any signs of impalement). In one scene, a few people discover the aftermath of several suicides: we see the legs of someone hanging from the ceiling, the legs of another person lying on the floor, and a person's arm hanging out of a car running inside a closed garage (we also see two covered bodies being rolled out of a house on gurneys). A boy jumps off a roof in what appears to be a suicide attempt; he lands in some bushes and is fine. A woman grabs a girl's arms and pushes her into a house. We hear a woman vomit and hear someone loudly pass gas in another scene.

PROFANITY 3 - An anatomical reference, a scatological reference and an insult. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Teen suicide, teen sexuality, teen drinking and smoking (including marijuana), coming of age, promiscuity, obsession, being under "quarantine," crushes, heartbreak, the 70s.

MESSAGE - Parents shouldn't deprive their children of their adolescence. Some people are mysteries; we can never really know them or understand the motivations behind their actions.

Special Keywords: S5 - V6 - P3 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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