Film Noir Influence in The Virgin Suicides

Teenage suicide was not unheard of before the nineteen-nineties, but its growing instances during this period led people to acknowledge the problem. Schools even started publishing materials to educate students and parents about the phenomena. The Virgin Suicides confronts this delicate topic straightforward. Sofia Coppola blends elements of her own style with those of classic film noir to show how these young individuals become so alienated in a world they barely know or understand. Through the eyes of five sheltered teenage girls, Coppola opens up a dark universe of isolation.

From the start of the film, it is acknowledged that the five Lisbon girls all died before they made it to adulthood. A small group of boys, now men, from the Lisbon’s neighborhood have never forgotten about the mysterious sisters whom they have never come to completely figure out. One of the men narrates the film and informs the viewer that he and his friends still gather at every high school reunion and birthday party to discuss the fate of the Lisbon girls.

The film then flashes back to their childhood circa 1975, and introduces the girls as they get out of their family’s station wagon. Cecilia is the youngest at 13, preceded by Lux, Bonnie, Mary, and Therese whom were all one year older than another. All of the girls seem so young, innocent, and beautiful. However, it is soon revealed that Cecilia has just gotten out of the hospital after an attempted suicide.

Cecilia begins seeing a therapist who recommends that the strict Lisbon’s allow their daughters to have a party to cheer the girls up and enable them to interact with boys and girls their own age. Cecilia is upset by a group of her peers making fun of a child with Down syndrome. She feels that she will never really belong to society either, and so she runs upstairs and jumps from her window. Her second attempt at suicide is successful since she lands on a pointed, wrought iron fence. The rest of the film deals with the Lisbon’s struggle to cope with this new reality. In the end, the remaining sisters decide that Cecilia was right about the world being a bleak and lonely place where existence itself is futile, and so they decide to join her by taking their own lives.

Although The Virgin Suicides is by no means a classic film noir, it is undeniable that Coppola was influenced by the ideas that it brings to mind. The mood of some scenes, for example, has parallels with that of film noir. After all, Coppola intends to bring the audience to the bizarre and heavy world in which these doomed girls live. Both of the suicide scenes and the scene when Trip leaves Lux in the middle of the football field after having sex with her evoke a sense of uneasiness and inconceivability that is definitely characteristic of film noir. The Virgin Suicides is also influenced by noir themes and style. The film is primarily about these teenage girls feeling separated from the crowd, cooped up in the half-reality that was their home. Everything about the Lisbon house is drab and gray. There is never direct sunlight, or high-key lighting inside the Lisbon home. It is as if the girls are covered in cobwebs like little china dolls being preserved in a basement somewhere. Coppola uses light throughout the film to symbolize life and change, like the cuts to outdoor time-lapsed shots with the sun glowing in the background. This also shows that things outside are changing, but the Lisbon girls are forced to remain stagnant in their rooms.

The Virgin Suicides also boasts a particularly edgy score for the time period it was meant to represent. Track titles include “Cemetery Party”, “Dirty Trip”, and “Bathroom Girl.” These are songs Mrs. Lisbon would most definitely not allow her children to listen to. Coppola even makes a point of this by showing Lux burning all of her rock CD’s at the hands of her mother. This represents the authority the girls’ parents still have over their lives, but the score still playing throughout the movie represents their struggle to make a place for themselves. Perhaps the girls would have made it and they were simply being suffocated. More likely, however, is that the girls saw no hope in living for a future they saw as lonely, awkward, and unfulfilling.

The Virgin Suicides also departs from noir, and more modern filmmaking conventions are noticed. Lux Lisbon is not the classic femme fatale of film noir. She knows her sex appeal and that she can use it to her advantage, yet she is not trying to deceive the men she sleeps with. Lux is simply trying to justify what happened with Trip. She had sex with him after their Homecoming dance because she thought he cared about her, and then he just left her asleep on the football field. Lux, being only fifteen years old, was really affected by this. She then reacts by trying to prove to herself that sex means nothing. Then it would be okay if she lost her virginity to Trip for no good reason.

The story of the ill-fated Lisbon sisters needed to be told in a modern context, while the world they live in and the experiences they have are sometimes noir. Therefore, a true infusion of a few different styles and genres were required. Sofia Coppola does a wonderful job of mixing conventions of film noir with her own thematic style in the direction of The Virgin Suicides. The music and lighting of the film are akin to noir, as is the general theme of the film and it’s setting where days blend together and even sex is meaningless. However, none of the sisters quite resemble a classic femme fatale. Also, the boys may be like junior detectives, but they have no ulterior or hidden motives. Their respect and wonderment of the Lisbon sisters is sincere, and that is something that cannot exist in a film noir.

Causes of Premarital Sex

There is no behavior without reason. We need to examine reasons why Christian youths do fall into the sins of fornication.

Please note that sexual relationship is divided into three, namely:

(a) Premarital sex (fornication)

(b) Pure (Holy or Legal) sex

(c) Extra – marital Sex (Adultery)

Premarital sex is what most youths engage in before marriage while extra-marital sex is what some married people indulges in, when they are not faithful to their partner. Pure, holy or legal sex is the only legitimate sex, it occurs between married couples. It is Holy and wonderful, God loves it and it brings purity. What we will be talking about here is premarital sex which the Bible calls fornication. It is not fun, it is not love-making but fornication. It is sin, I would have agreed if it is called lust making.


(1) Pressure: Pressure from parents, friends, peer group, lecturer, boss, future partners. Some men do mount pressure physically on their partners while some ladies mount pressure on their partners by dressing carelessly exposing their nakedness to seduce men. Some male bosses in places of work do mount pressure on their female workers, they want girls that can work for them and still satisfy them sexually.

(2) Curiosity: Many youths have engaged themselves in premarital sex as a result of curiosity. They thought they were searching for reality, but they ended up destroying themselves. They are not satisfied with what their parents, pastors and christian friends told them concerning sex, they want to experience it themselves.

(3) Electronic media: Television, film, radio and video has contributed to the high rate of premarital sex. What youths watch on screen determine their behaviour and character. Every product advertised on T.V. is just promoting sex. In fact, to advertise food items they use sex, film, television and radio promotes premarital sex. Most home videos are sex promoters.

(4) Books and Magazines: Some satanic authors are in town destroying the youths, they write some sexual stories, books and magazines, they bring out many pictures that stimulate the youth to think about sex always. Having read all these books, youths do become restless until they have put into practice what they learned in the books and magazines.

(5) Environmental influence: We live in a corrupt society where people do not see anything bad in ungodliness they do not see premarital sex as sin; they see it as a normal thing. Hence, girls are encouraged to dress exposing their bodies. Premarital sex has become the norm of the society. Some Christian youths find it difficult to cope in this kind of environment; hence, they fall into this ungodly act.

(6) Covetousness: Greed for money, wealth and position is another cause of premarital sex. Some ladies want money at all costs hence they are ready to use their bodies to get it by sleeping around with men.

(7) Indiscipline: Lack of discipline has led many singles into the dungeon of premarital sex.

(8) Wrong association: This has led many youth into destruction. Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.

(9) Ignorance: Lack of good sex education has led many youth into premarital sex, some went into it not knowing what they were doing.

(10) Wrong information: Since parents have refused to educate their children on the subject and the church is not forth coming with anything meaningful, the youth have resorted to any information they can get from anywhere either wrong or right.

(11) Bad parenting: Children that are not well brought up are likely to fall into wrong hands.

(12) Idleness: An idle hand is the devil’s workshop. If you are idle, you may cuddle the devil.

(13) Loneliness: Some claim they went into fornication due to loneliness.

(14) Broken homes: Children from broken homes can fall into wrong hands due to the situation of their homes.

Sex Life During Pregnancy

Sex during pregnancy is one of the most common questions that couples have when they are expecting their first child. Due to lack of knowledge about the right method, frequency, timing, there can be a lot of misconception and the couple may just abstain from making penetrative love-making. Women during this stage has psychological and emotional needs, due to which she is not able to gauge the behavioral changes in her partner.

For intercourse

Though the woman may not have demanding sexual urges, she does appreciate warm, physical contact and tactile love. In case, she is aroused, she can go ahead and have intercourse as well. However, here are some of the sexual positions that the couple have to take note of during pregnancy

1. Avoid missionary (man on top) position Women on top is advisable and so is sitting position. Basically, go for any position that does not put pressure on the abdomen, and the movement is gentle

2. Spoon position is also advisable for pregnant women. This position is the one in which the couple lie on their sides, their legs tilted upwards, both facing one direction, with the man behind the woman. It is known as the ‘spoon fashion’ because it looks like two spoons, one nestling inside the other. This is a gentle position, because neither partners is putting any weight as such on the other, and is good for the couple during this phase.

Things to avoid during pregnancy

1. Intercourse should be avoided from the sixth to the twelfth week of the pregnancy; doing this may result in miscarriage. Sexual abstinence is advisable during the last two months of pregnancy. Also, if one indulges in penetrative intercourse at this time, essential amniotic fluid can leak out and cause problems.

2. During the fourth and seventh month of pregnancy, intercourse is allowed, unless, you are not asked to do so for medical reasons.

3. Anal and oral sex should be avoided for the woman.

Matrimonial issues during pregnancy

The woman does not retain her shapely figure during pregnancy. It is possible that the man may physically drawn or intimate with other women. The temptation to go for an extra marital affair does loom high; this is something that the man should not indulge in. The man should involve himself with the pregnancy. This is the phase where the couple can actually create deeper bonds especially when the father is encouraging and loving during this period. Things like being together during the sonograph session, shopping for the baby’s clothes and choosing the baby’s name can be some cute things that the man can do.