I saw this movie for the first time when I was in grade eleven and had just recently become a fan of Sofia Coppola's films. I can honestly saw that the the title was what drew me to the movie. Anything with self-inflicted death and an implied sexual undertone is right up my alley, because it is guaranteed to create a good story, as questionable as that may sound. Anyways, when I first saw the movie I was really excited to see it.
I remember being drawn into the complex storyline. I watched intently, rewinding and replaying the interesting parts, or the parts I didn't really understand. I remember my stomach lurching when the smallest of the Lisbon boys bumps into the dangling feet of Bonnie Lisbon. I felt so let down and disappointed alongside the boys when they realized that their elaborate fantasy of running away in the family station wagon with the girl was just an elaborate fantasy. Seeing that scene played out in the movie was very moving for me. The picture is sunny and warm, the boys and the girls are packed in the car, smiling and laughing. Lux sticks her head out the window and smiles serenely as they drive away from their seemingly cursed neighbourhood; everyone is happy. Then the let down: the boys find the dead girls and sprint back to their houses. No dialogue is said, until the narrator bleakly repeats "We were never certain about the sequence of events. We argue about it still."
I think the casting of the movie was perfect. James Woods played the awkward, geeky almost shy Mr. Lisbon, while Kathleen Turner was the perfect mix of controlling christian mother and lost soul. A (very) young Josh Hartnett is now the only person I can envision as womanizer Trip Fontaine. Kirsten Dunst played the ideal Lux; she looks and acts so much like a young girl, yet has such a distinct femininity in her actions which is the perfect combination. I've heard a lot of complaints on forums about the movie that the girls who played the Lisbon sisters weren't attractive enough. Mary, Lux and Cecilia are considered attractive, while many thought that Bonnie and Therese weren't appealing at all. I say that the girls didn't need to be movie-star gorgeous, or the realism of the movie would have been compromised. It didn't matter how imperfect the girls' teeth, face shape or body type was, their imperfections were what set them apart from anyone else, and like most girls in their teens, they had lots of them. The boys didn't just love them because they found them beautiful, there was a deeper connection between them.
I loved this movie a lot, and it will continue to be one of my favourite films of all time. However, the book was much better, which is saying a lot. The film did an amazing job of capturing Eugenides' vision, but the story of the Lisbons is much more moving in print then on film.