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Sofia Coppola’s bible: A closer look on her best movies!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Sofia’s last name may not seem strange to you. She is the youngest child and only daughter of the famous film director Francis Ford Coppola, who is known for directing Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and the trilogy The Godfather, and documentary filmmaker Eleanor Coppola, who sadly left us on April 12th. 

Born in New York City on May 14, 1971, the American filmmaker is also a producer, screenwriter and fashion designer. Sofia has already ventured into acting, starring in some of her father’s movies, such as The Godfather Part III (1990), The Outsiders (1983) and The Cotton Club (1984). After she was critically panned for her performances and constantly being the target for nepotism accusations, Coppola’s daughter quit acting and transitioned into filmmaking.   

Despite all the backlash during her acting years, thankfully she became a successful film director. Now that you got to know her a little, it is time to cast your eye over some of her best movies!

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola in her feature directorial debut and co-produced by her father Francis Ford Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a psychological romantic drama that premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. The film is based on the 1983 novel by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Starring James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, A.J. Cook and Josh Hartnett, with Scott Glenn, Michael Paré, Jonathan Tucker and Danny DeVito in supporting roles, the movie was shot in 1998 in Toronto, Canada.

It follows a group of neighborhood boys, who now are grown up men, reflecting upon their fascination with the mysterious and doomed Lisbon sisters from a suburb in Detroit, during the year of 1975. The five girls, Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux and Cecilia, had overprotective Catholic parents who would not let them interact with boys.

After an incident with the youngest sister Cecilia, with only four daughters remaining, the family became even more isolated. Lux, the most rebellious sister, started a romance with Trip Fontaine, pushing the boundaries of the household rules. At that time, the boys could never imagine what would happen after getting romantically involved with the sisters!

Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia started writing the movie after spending time in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where she stayed during her first feature film promotion. According to the movie director, the city inspired her, as she began forming a story about two characters falling in love and experiencing a “romantic melancholy” in the hotel.

Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, the film premiered on August 29, 2003, at the Telluride Film Festival and grossed over $118 million worldwide (its budget was around $4 million). From the beginning, Sofia knew who was going to play her lead male role Bob Harris, trying to cast Murray for up to a year, sending him messages and letters restlessly.

The filming required a small crew and minimal equipment. The movie’s director of photography, Lance Acord, used available light as the majority of the locations for shooting were Japanese places, such as public and business areas. 

Lost in Translation is a romantic comedy-drama film that follows a lonely, middle-aged American movie star Bob Harris who is in Tokyo to record a Japanese whiskey commercial, and a recently graduated woman, Charlotte, who is staying at the same hotel and is accompanying her celebrity-photographer husband John. Both of them are unsatisfied with their lives and feeling lost in their current situations, as they are dealing with the cultural barriers found in a new country. 

After several encounters in the hotel, Charlotte invites Bob to meet some local friends and hang out in the city nightlife, strengthening their relationship. Their friendship starts to have a romantic touch and they cannot stop seeing each other. However, this strong bond seems to be broken: Bob tells her that he will be leaving Tokyo soon.

The movie is atypical in its deception of romance because it does not tell a common romantic story between two people. The main characters have a more profound connection. At the 76th Academy Awards, Lost in Translation won Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Sofia Coppola) and Best Actor (Bill Murray). It also won three Golden Globe Awards and three British Academy Film Awards.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Based on the biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey by British author, Lady Antonia Fraser, the movie follows thelife of Marie Antoinette in the years leading to the French Revolution, showing the opulence and eccentric court of Versailles while focusing on Antoinette becoming a wife and further the Queen of France.

In 1770, Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna, known as Antoine, was a fourteen-year-old beautiful girl and the youngest daughter of Austria’s empress Maria Theresa, who selected her to marry the Dauphin of France, Louis XVI (Antoinette’s cousin), in order to seal an alliance between both countries. The future Queen had little time to adapt herself to the royalty routine. She was a foreign girl in a palace full of French people who quietly disdained her for being Austrian. To make things worse, on the wedding night, “apparently, nothing happened”, contradicting the King’s wish to have many healthy heirs to the throne. According to the gossip in Versailles, Marie Antoinette was not able to produce children that would be the future of France.

She found comfort in buying sophisticated gowns and shoes, throwing parties, gambling with her friends, eating elaborate cakes and even having a love affair with Swedish Count Axel von Fersen. After the King’s death, her husband succeeds him as Louis XVI and Antoinette becomes a Queen at the age of 18. In 1778, she gave birth to her first child, Marie Thérèse.

France’s financial crisis worsens and Marie’s public image as her lifestyle seems indifferent to the struggles of the French people. There was also a rumor that she said “Let them eat cake!” after being aware of the lack of bread for the poor ones.

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Jamie Dornan and Rose Bryne, the movie won the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design. Sofia Coppola has a sharp eye for fashion that for sure shows in this film: it is full of details, not only for the costumes, but also for the makeup and hair. Besides, the fact that in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France wears All Star and has pink hair is remarkable. According to the director, she wanted to represent the rebellion of the French royalty. 

Priscilla (2023)

Based on Priscilla Presley‘s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, the biopic tells the story behind Priscilla’s complicated marriage with Elvis Presley. Starring Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny (nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Globes Awards), the movie premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2023 and was released in the USA by A24.

During Priscilla Beaulieu’s teenage years, she lived her life as a common young girl until she met the already famous rock-and-roll superstar Elvis Presley at a party in the U.S. Military base in West Germany. The fourteen-year-old girl felt attracted to Elvis and the feeling was mutual. It was love at first sight. They started dating despite her parents disapproving of the fact that he was 10 years older than her. After the singer’s service in the US Army, he returned to the United States to continue his career, leaving Priscilla wondering if she would ever see him again.

In 1962, Elvis invited the now sixteen-year-old girl to visit Memphis during vacation and after traveling to Las Vegas. In 1963, Priscilla’s parents gave her permission to move to the United States with the rockstar and finish her senior high school in another country. Even though living in Graceland was a dream, she spent so much time alone because Elvis was always traveling to Los Angeles. After her high school graduation, the rock-and-roll singer suggested that she should dye her hair black and wear eye makeup. The girl, who used to look like a teenager, suddenly became a woman. It was at that time that the first affair allegations of Elvis with other women started to be spread.

The wedding proposal only happened in 1966 and both got married in May 1967, in Las Vegas. Shortly after becoming a wife, Priscilla got pregnant. Everything seems to be a fairytale, but the drug abuse and the bad mood of her husband begin to affect their marriage. She started witnessing Elvis’s explosive temper, who would always feel remorse and try to excuse his actions. In addition, his love affairs made the future mother feel insecure about herself and her relationship.

In 1968, Priscilla gave birth to Lisa Marie Presley, but their marriage was not the same. They were already living separate lives and Elvis’s absence contributed to her filing for divorce in 1972.

On the contrary of what is shown in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla addresses a more personal take on who was the woman that married the famous superstar and why their relationship was abusive and toxic. The fact that Sofia’s choice of casting two actors with a large height difference is a way to express how submissive Priscilla was to her husband. According to an interview to the Brazilian TV program “Fanstástico”, Coppola tells that her focus was not on the singer, but on Priscilla’s side of the story: “I tried to focus on her story as a person and forget about the fame side, in the hope that people can understand the kind of relationships they had and learn about female roles and expectations of those times.” It’s no wonder that the film received a seven-minute ovation!


The article above was edited by Giovanna Rodrigues.

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Larissa Buzon Cardoso

Casper Libero '26

Journalism student who loves writing. I am keen on fashion, music, art and TV series.