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The Baby Boomers and Their Generation Y Children

Francis Ford Coppola led the 1970s wave of filmmakers with such classic films as The Godfather trilogy based on Mario Puzo's best selling book, and Apocolypse Now based on Joseph Conrad's classic, Heart of Darkness. Now, his daughter Sofia has shown that she has the potential to be an authoritative voice for a new generation of filmmakers. Her first feature, The Virgin Suicides, is based on the 1993 critically praised debut novel of the same name, by Jeffrey Eugenides.

The elder Coppola taught moviegoers—quite sincerely—about family values, mafia style, during the "me generation's" hey-day. The younger Coppola explores the disintegration of traditional suburban values, a theme that speaks to the understandably cynical, ironic youth of today, but without the smug/hipster tone that so many recent films have fallen back on.

Sofia Coppola cast the film well by bringing together two up-and-coming young stars, Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett, with two baby boomer actors, Kathleen Turner and James Woods, who have shifted from leading roles to parent figures. It's interesting to note that each of the four main actors is "ruled" by, or associated with, one of the four astrological elements.

Kirsten Dunst is a Taurus (earth), and speaks to teenage girls of all eras as she longs for the security and comfort of family, but also cannot deny her sensual needs. Josh Hartnett, a Cancer (water), plays a youth who feels compelled to deny his water sign feminine traits. Instead, he succumbs to hyper-sexual/masculine behavior as a way to exert power and avoid more complex emotional relationships. Kathleen Turner, a Gemini (air), plays the suburban mom, a charming, sociable woman who possesses strong theories about what her values are, but somehow is unable to bridge the emotional gap between herself and her loved ones. James Woods, an Aries (fire), plays the teacher/dad who feels most comfortable taking action rather than exploring the subtleties of his own nature, his family and his world.

Hartnett and Dunst: Voices of Kids Who Missed Out on Innocence

Kirsten Dunst plays Lux Lisbon, one of five beautiful young sisters, all of whom end up committing suicide in this morbid, yet dreamy tale of innocence lost. Her character is the only sister to lose her virginity—to high school heartthrob Trip Fontaine, played by teen idol Josh Hartnett. Both actors will most certainly look back on this film as having provided them with early "break out" roles—performances that show great depth and range, and that urge the moviegoing public and the critics to take these two pretty faces very seriously.

What is impressive about these performances is that, although the film takes place in the early 70s (before most of their fans, or the actors themselves were born!), the sensibility is undeniably late 90s, or, in a phrase, "post-Columbine." The feeling the stars in this film induce are reminders of how today's kids have been denied innocence, not just because of the massive sex and violence images that bombard them (the same could be said of the 1960s Vietnam/free love generation), but because of a non-stop parade of superficial "wisdom" (from confessional talk shows to the information-heavy, but emotionally-isolated Internet) that has left them jaded, confused and rightfully cynical about the world they've inherited. These kids don't have a cause like Vietnam; instead they have post-Watergate, economic boomtime, suburban boredom emptiness.

Josh Hartnett seems destined to be a spokesman for this new generation of young men. His Jupiter (good luck) makes a wide conjunction to his Sun (one’s place in the world) in Cancer, the sign of the child and the parent. No doubt, as he grows older he will find some of his most challenging and satisfying roles playing complex husbands and fathers, who must find a balance between their sensitivity and feminine traits (water sign characteristics) and the sometimes hyper-masculine backlash impulses that many Cancer men are prone to. (Other famous male Cancers include brilliant writer Ernest Hemingway, who drank and fought bulls to smother his more gentle urges, and Tom Cruise, a sensitive young actor of the 80s who fought against rumors of homosexuality by taking one empty action hero role after another. Not accidentally, Cruise found his real success when he deeply explored his Cancerian issues in his two Oscar-nominated turns in Jerry Maguire and Magnolia.)

Kirsten Dunst's North Node (what she's meant to accomplish in this life) is also in the sign of Cancer, which is probably why she is drawn to the child/parent issues associated with that sign. In additon, her Jupiter makes a wide conjunction (intense connection) to Hartnett's Uranus in Scorpio. Uranus is the planet of controversy, progress and generational change, and Scorpio is the sign of sex, death and transformation. Their onscreen chemistry is more than just a superficially sexy one; together these young stars unconsciously transmit the struggles of all kids of their era.

Turner and Woods: Changing Their Images With the Times

The parent figures in The Virgin Suicides, Kathleen Turner and James Woods, have also chosen career-transforming roles. Woods is a super fire sign, with six planets in this masculine element. He's made a good living playing tough guys, but in this film, he has gone "against type" by playing a very nerdy, emasculated father who is overwhelmed by the six women he lives with.

Kathleen Turner, who plays the matriarch, is probably most memorable in her 1981 breakout role as the sultry post-noir femme fatale Maddy opposite another Aries man, William Hurt, in Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat. But in recent years, she has found a new set of roles, all of them maternal and a bit bizarre, from John Waters' Serial Mom to her recent scandalous (because she bared all) theatrical role as seductive mother Mrs. Robinson, in the London production of The Graduate. Like Hartnett, Turner has Jupiter, as well as Mercury and Uranus, in Cancer, so its no wonder she has such a gift for playing archetypal mothers.

Each actor in The Virgin Suicides brings a different astrological element to the texture of the story but it is themes of Cancerian "family values" and Plutonian themes of sexuality and transformation that are the most prominent, and the most haunting. It's a dreamy Paradise Lost for a new lost generation.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Dearman is the author of the gay best sellers Queer Astrology For Men and Queer Astrology For Women (St. Martins Griffin/1999). She has been professionally practicing astrology for twelve years and currently writes horoscopes for the national magazines Twist and Girlfriends as well as numerous papers syndicated via Q Syndicate. She has written about subjects from astrology to literature to film and theater in Mademoiselle, Publishers Weekly and HX. An excerpt from her upcoming novel, The Great Bravura, was featured in Best Lesbian Erotica 2000(Cleis Press). She also writes and produces films. The Village Voice called Dearman a "risk surfing playwright" whose work "shocks and rocks." She is a 1999/2000 artist in residence at HERE in New York City.

Jill is also the author of LoveCycles, an email-delivered guide to love and relationships based on individual birth data, available in the Shop@StarIQ.

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For more information about Jill Dearman, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jill Dearman:

  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-15-00   4/5/2014
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-1-00   3/8/2014
  • These Men are from Venus   10/5/2013
  • Brendan Fraser: More Than Just a Pretty Face   4/27/2001
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar: Every Girl's Heroine   4/25/2001
  • Geoffrey Rush: The Moody Marquis   3/23/2001
  • Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt: Still Peaking   1/30/2001
  • Kate Winslet's Passionate Choices   12/29/2000
  • Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria: What Does This Woman Want?   12/5/2000
  • Bounce Star Ben Affleck: The Ball is in His Court   12/1/2000
  • Charlie's Angels: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu   11/25/2000
  • Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger: Dr. Seuss Meets Nurse Betty   11/17/2000
  • Dylan on Dylan   11/10/2000
  • Bono's Return to Roots of Rock   11/4/2000
  • Geena Davis and Bette Midler: Big Stars on the Small Screen   10/27/2000
  • Janet Jackson's Down-to-Earth Planets   10/21/2000
  • Gloria Steinem: Happy At Last   10/14/2000
  • The Strange Musical Path of Bjork   9/26/2000
  • Picture Perfect Couple: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston   9/15/2000
  • Harrison and Michelle: A Return to Classic Hollywood   9/8/2000
  • Drew Barrymore: Happily Ever After At Last?   9/1/2000
  • Meg Ryan in the Middle   8/18/2000
  • Mark Wahlberg: Marky Mark is Back   8/12/2000
  • The Return of Cat Stevens   8/4/2000
  • Lou Reed and The Smashing Pumpkins: Piscean Themes   7/29/2000
  • Patti Smith: Her Gung Ho Comeback   7/21/2000
  • Rupert Everett: The Ultimate Gemini   7/7/2000
  • Angelina and Billy Bob: Hollywood's Mod, Odd Couple   6/30/2000
  • Opposites Attract On Screen   5/26/2000
  • Beatty and Bening's New Baby   5/19/2000
  • Aquarian Psycho   5/12/2000
  • Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez   5/5/2000
  • Chloe Sevigny's Scorpionic Exploration of Sexuality   3/25/2000
  • Water Signs Rule the Cider House   3/23/2000
  • The Tangled Web of Ripley   3/2/2000
  • Aries Grrrl Warriors: Where Will They Go From Here?   2/18/2000

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