The Virgin Suicides
written by Sofia Coppola, from the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
(Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon (James Woods & Kathleen Turner) leave the empty house behind)
Mrs. Lisbon (voice-over): None of my daughters lacked for any love. There was plenty of love in our house. I never understood why.
Narrator: (voice-over) After the suicide free-for-all, Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon gave up any attempt to lead a normal life. They had Mr. Headley pack up the house, selling what furniture he could in a garage sale. Mr. Lisbon put the house on the market, and it was sold to a young couple from Boston. We, of course, took the family photos that were put out with the trash. In the end, we had pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained -- oddly shaped emptiness mapped by what surrounded them, like countries we couldn't name. What lingered after them was not life, but the most trivial list of mundane facts -- a clock ticking on the wall, a room dim at noon, the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself. We began the impossible process of trying to forget them.
(The camera moves through the now-empty house, pausing over Lux's homecoming crown on a table of discarded junk.)
Our parents seemed better able to do this, returning to their tennis foursomes and cocktail cruises, as though they'd seen this all before. It was full-fledged summer again, over a year from the time Cecilia had slit her wrists, spreading the poison in the air. A spill at the plant increased the phosphates in the lake and produced a scum of algae so thick that the swamp smell filled the air, infiltrating the genteel mansions. Debutantes cried over the misfortune of coming out in a season everyone would remember for its bad smell. The O'Connors, however, came up with the ingenious solution of making the theme of their daughter Alice's debutante party...asphyxiation. Like everyone else, we went to forget about the Lisbon girls.
(The scene at the party is best described as nightmarish. Guest are wearing gas masks. One of the boys kisses a girl on the house's patio. Another girl, the date of one of the boys, throws up into the shrubs. A toast is made to Alice's future. A middle-age drunk party guest jumps into the pool, and as he is fished out, he says, laughing, "You don't understand me! I'm a teenager! I've got problems!")
So much has been said about the girls over the years. But we have never found an answer. It didn't matter in the end how old they had been or that they were girls...but only that we had loved them...and they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.
(The movie ends with the four boys after the party, across the street from the empty house. One of them is holding a lit lighter, as if paying tribute to a band at the end of a concert.)