Love, Sex, Death, Passion, Fear, Obsession: Just Like Life.

Lux Lisbon

"What we have here is a dreamer. Someone completely 
out of touch  with reality."
-Jeffrey Eugenides

Lux Lisbon, portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s 1999 film ‘The Virgin Suicides’.

A story about love, sex, death, passion, fear and obsession, The Virgin Suicides centres around the mysterious Lisbon sisters. Long before the first suicide, of Cecilia (the youngest), the five beautiful sisters are watched obsessively by the entire neighbourhood. The boys that once loved them from afar, try to impose order on a tragedy that defies explanation and haunts them even as adults. For still, the question remains- why did all five of the Lisbon girls have to die?


“In the end it wasn’t death that surprised her but the stubbornness of life.”

The second youngest of the Lisbon girls, the beautiful, mischievous and adventurous, Lux epitomizes all that the boys desire about the sisters. Although her smoking and sexual activity hint at a self-destructive nature, Lux appears to act clearly and deliberately, leaving the boys to wonder about her real plans. Lux’s character retreats behind a series of constraints on her femininity. For instance, this is demonstrated when Mrs Lisbon wipes off her lipstick and orders her to change into less revealing clothes. However, Lux proves rebellious when she defies these restrictions by accepting a ride on a motorcycle, fraternising with delinquent boys outside the high school and dating the neighbourhood heartthrob, Trip Fontaine.

By the middle of Chapter Three, the recently deceased Cecilia, along with her sisters Bonnie, Mary and Therese are only given a passing mention whilst Lux emerges as a heroine of singular importance. Lux’s power over the neighbourhood boys is most significantly represented through the symbol of the bra on the crucifix. Most simply, the bra on the crucifix represents Lux’s sexual rebellion against Mrs Lisbon’s strict Catholic rules. In addition to this, the fact that the bra is draped over Cecilia’s crucifix represents the apparent juxtaposition and tension created between the shy, retiring, suicidal Cecilia and the Vigorous, sexy Lux.

"We knew finally, that the girls were really
women in disguise, that they understood love and even death...". 

-Jeffrey Eugenides



About Feminism Through Cinema and Literature

Hi, its Tia. From Cambridge, England. Avid reader, film watcher and feminist. Studying for an undergraduate degree in English Literature at York St John University. The tone of my blog has hopefully developed into a more literary and critical analysis of female roles in cinema and literature. This is a development that I hope to continue as I progress with my studies. Hope you enjoy my blog and do feel free to leave a comment.
This entry was posted in Women in Cinema, Women in Literature and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Love, Sex, Death, Passion, Fear, Obsession: Just Like Life.

  1. I love this film. It was really depressing since it gave you the vibe that all was hopeless and inescapable. My copy of the book is still sitting on my bookshelf 😦


    • Feminism Through Cinema and Literature says:

      I agree with you. It is so eerie. Jeffrey Eugenides is so talented, keeping his readers guessing and questioning as to’why did the Lisbon sisters had to die’? Thank-you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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