Time: 97 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A group of male friends become obsessed with a group of mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents after one of them commits suicide.
BOTTOM LINE: Sofia Coppola steps out of her father's broad shadow in her first directorial effort. She proves her talent is behind the camera, creating a poignant, mysterious, lyrical film about the magic and sorrow of adolescence. The virgins of the title are the friendly, yet unattainable Lisbon sisters whose burgeoning sexuality weaves a web of desire around the neighborhood boys. When the youngest, 13-year-old Cecilia, commits suicide, shockwaves reverberate throughout the community, her family and the boys hearts.
The boys, led by the dreamy Hartnett, become determined to unravel the secrets hidden behind the girls perfect, yet sad facades. A stolen night of pleasure brings down the wrath of the girls' overprotective mother (Turner), dooming them to a life behind closed doors. She's already lost one daughter and refuses to the let the others out of her sight. The boys try to save them, giving them their only lifeline to the world; however, in the end, they choose the only freedom within their grasp.
Their short lives and untimely deaths forever bind them to the boys who dreamed of their futures for them. Coppola truly captures time and place, evoking a simpler time that proves just as complicated, as our modern world. The story moves slowly, peeling back the layers of its' mystery to reveal not only life's fragility, but how much one life can impact another. The high and lows of the teen years play out perfectly in this ultimately tragic tale. It's sad, yet one comes away happy for the experience. One of the best adaptations I've seen in a long time, capturing the essence of the novel and bringing it vividly to the screen.