Director: Sofia Coppola
Year Released: 2000
I'm a lot harsher than I should be on Sofia Coppola's directorial debut primarily because I read the book and consider it one of the best reads of the early nineties (or, perhaps, the entire decade). Her treatment of the material is earnest but mechanical - the tone far more shlocky than eerily mysterious or even disturbing. Somehow when you see the girls on screen it's not as profound as how you imagine them to be while reading the book, and in this case, since I read the book first, I was in already one-up on the material (admittedly, this is a recurring theme with me – every time I read the book, I detest the movie). The beauty of the novel is the absence of their images with the words serving as the only remaining shadows of whom they could have been like. Coppola also happened to have missed the novel's supernatural subtext and Eugenides' suggestive passages in which the girls eye each other knowingly throughout as if they could read each others' minds. Still, an interesting step for Ms. Coppola, who (I pray) will have a long, dignified career as a filmmaker. Now if only her parents and siblings would leave her alone, maybe she can make up her own goddamn mind and form her own subjective vision of humanity. Note: The last comment comes from my reaction to the "Behind the Scenes" section of the DVD – nary a minute ticks by that either her brother, Roman, her mother, Eleanor nor her father (especially) get in her face and ask moronic questions or treat her like a child. Don't you people have wine to make?