Every Sofia Coppola Movie Ranked

By Haley Hart 

April 3, 2024

“You’re doing a Sofia Coppola article? That’s so annoying, but like it makes sense for you.”

- Girl in my 6th period

Me + Sofia Coppola 

Before I even start, I would like to get this statement off my chest, I LOVE SOFIA COPPOLA MOVIES! Everything that woman has even had a slight hand in making I will watch and defend like my life depends on it. I am entirely convinced that she could film 5 hours straight of just paint drying and I would eat it up and call it a masterpiece. So, pardon me if these reviews are a tad biased.

This obsession started the way all unhealthy things often do, the internet. 

My friend had introduced me to a certain website that still sends chills down my spine everytime I hear its name, Tumblr. We were mindlessly scrolling through a feed of stupid quotes and over-saturated photos when she then clicked on a screenshot of a beautiful, young girl spinning in a grassy field, the caption on the bottom read, “Obviously, Doctor ... you’ve never been a thirteen-year-old girl.” When I innocently asked “who’s that?” My friend stared at me with her eyebrows raised and judgment plastered all over her face. “Who’s that?!” She said, “that's a Lisbon sister! You’ve never seen The Virgin Suicides before?!”

I responded simply, “I don’t think my parents would like me to watch a movie called that.” She looked me up and down then mumbled, “oh, that’s lame.”

Hanna R. Hall as Cecilla Lisbon in The Virgin Suicides (1999) 

Let me tell you, as a little 5th grader, that stung. The words “oh, that’s lame” echoed in my brain for the rest of the day. I couldn’t take it, I wanted, no, needed, to watch this movie. So I watched it on one of those sketchy, likely illegal, websites. I can’t possibly even put into words how much I loved it. The color scheme was brilliant, the cinematography was beautiful, and the music, oh the music, just everything about the film was breathtaking. Suffice to say, I fell completely in love with Sofia Coppola.

The Virgin Suicides (1999) - 8/10

This film is based off of Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel about the five adolescent Lisbon sisters, Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilla, in 70s suburban Michigan who take their own lives. The movie is told from the now adult perspective of the neighborhood boys who are only reflecting on their childhood with the sisters. A major criticism of this movie has been that it is entirely told from the male gaze. We see the lives of the Lisbon girls through the neighborhood boys' eyes and a frequent critique of this is that it contributes to a sort of fetishization of mentally ill women. However, I think the film does an excellent job of highlighting why this romanticization isn’t a good thing. The romanticized view that the neighborhood boys have of the Lisbon sisters is what causes them to be blissfully unaware of the struggles that the Lisbon girls are going through, the struggles that ultimately lead to the girls taking their own lives. Overall, the film is heartbreaking and extremely intimate. The cinematography is utterly beautiful, while at the same time uncomfortable. Though the movie is quite intense it illustrates complicated issues in a very unique light.

Lost in Translation (2003) - 6/10

Ok, ok, ok, I obviously have some very unpopular opinions about this film. Lost in Translation is essentially viewed as what cemented Sofia Coppola as a household name, but it is far from her best work. The film follows two American individuals visiting Tokyo, Charlotte, a newlywed who is accompanying her husband on a business trip, and Bob, a married, aging actor there to shoot a whiskey commercial. The pair meet and relate to one another because of their similar feelings of being out of place in the atmosphere of Tokyo. They go on numerous outings together throughout the city and connect on account of their mutual loneliness. My main positive about this film is that it is absolutely gorgeous, the color palette is muted yet vibrant. Before I even watched the film, I think I knew I wouldn’t be too big of a fan, simply because there are way too many movies about lonely, middle aged men wandering around big cities. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! However, what I particularly couldn’t take was the then 17 year old Scarlett Johanssan kissing a 51 year old Bill Murray. Gross. In addition, the film’s portrayal of Japan and its culture came off as very ignorant to me. There are ongoing jokes where the premise is simply people not being able to speak English properly. The film contributes a sort of “otherization” of Asian cultures that doesn’t sit right. 

Marie Antoinnette (2006) - 10/10

Marie Antoinette? Oh, you mean the greatest movie ever made? Call me basic, but this is by far my favorite Sofia Coppola film. The film tells the semi-autobiographical story of the teenage Marie Antionette who marries the Dauphin of France and becomes that country's queen following the death of King Louis XV in 1774. After her years of rule, and a life of “luxury and privilege,” Marie Antoinette is executed during the French Revolution. In the years since this movie’s release, it has faced a lot of flack in regards to being “inaccurate” to the actual history of Marie Antoinette. A few main examples people like to bring up are the inflections of the way in which the characters speak, the “modern” music that is in the background of several scenes, and, most famously, a pair of purple Converse in the background of one shot. But to me, none of this is really relevant, and Coppola even said that these choices were intentional. I feel like the film is about more than just French royalty and revolution; the film depicts girlhood in such a vulnerable manner. Coppola has such a way of giving humanity to her characters, she almost made me feel bad for rich people. 

Somewhere (2010) - 8/10

This film follows Johnny Marco, an actor, who, after an intense injury, receives a visit from his daughter, Cleo. Though Johnny’s focuses are not on parenting, Cleo has a way of inserting herself into her father's daily routine. Slowly, the two bond, forcing Johnny to reevaluate both his life and his relationship with Cleo. This is by far the most underrated Coppola film. Every character is so easy to sympathize with even when you don’t want them to be. For instance, the main character is arguably very unlikeable and self-absorbed but somehow, Coppola finds a way to humanize characters that you don’t want to empathize with. The only criticism this movie has faced is being called things that a lot of Sofia Coppola films end up being labeled as; “pointless” and “boring.” In my opinion, the movie isn’t boring, but rather complex. Many reviews for this movie expressed similar sentiments that “nothing happens,” but often movies where “nothing happens” are my favorite types of films. There’s a sort of calmness and relatability that makes them so special. 

The Bling Ring (2013) - 7/10

This film was inspired by real-life events that occurred from 2008-2009 and follows a new-to-town teenager and his fame-obsessed friends who use the internet to track the whereabouts of celebrities to rob them of their possessions. It’s definitely not one of Coppola’s best films, in fact, it’s widely regarded  her worst work. To many, it lacks substance and fails to provide actual commentary on the issues it presentes. I can 100% see where this criticism comes from, but frankly the movie is not serious, and that’s what’s so great about it. It’s just fun, and, dare I say camp. The dialogue and fashion in the film feels weirdly nostalgic to me and it’s much lighter compared to Coppola’s normal work. I think if you go into the movie expecting an accurate and semi-serious telling of the story, you are going to be disappointed. I think the film was meant to be ridiculous and over the top, so, in a way, I think it provides a great commentary on classism and life for privileged youth. The only two things that truly annoyed me about this film was Nicki, played by Emma Watson’s attempt at an American accent (I love her though) and Paris Hilton leaving her keys under her doormat. (I mean seriously, you are sort of asking to get robbed at that point.)

The Beguiled (2017) - 7/10

This film based on the 1971 movie by the same name, follows John McBurney, an injured Union soldier who finds himself on the run during the Civil War. He seeks refuge after a young girl finds him and takes him to an all-female Southern boarding school, where all women are willing to nurse him back to health. Soon, sexual tensions lead to dangerous rivalries as the women tend to his wounds as well as offer him companionship. Now, this film is not a comedy by any means, so I don’t know why it had me laughing so much. Seeing the women in the film completely drive themselves crazy over a random man, while still trying to maintain the elegance and composure that was expected of them was for some reason funny. I think the film is beautifully shot. The cinematography is so symmetrical and neat, though the lighting is a little too dark for me. For some, the film kind of drags on or is a bit too slow. As a person with an extremely short attention span, the movie didn’t always keep me super interested, but I think your opinion of the film can differ based on how well you’re able to pay attention.

On the Rocks (2020) - 9/10

This film tells the story of a young mother, Laura, who reconnects with her extremely out-going father, Felix, on an adventure through New York. Laura has become suspicious that her heavily career-driven husband may be having an affair, a speculation only encouraged by her semi-immature father. This movie is so cute, but it didn’t feel like a Coppola film to me. Though I’ve already established that I adore Sofia Coppola‘s cinematography, storytelling, and writing style, this movie felt different, but in an incredible way. A lot of Coppola’s films, to me at least, lack the balance of lightheartedness and seriousness. On The Rocks felt like a breath of fresh air after 3 nights of watching Coppola movies that made me want to cry. This movie does an amazing job depicting father-daughter relationships, the comedy in them, but also the complexity of them. At times, the story doesn’t feel totally thought out, but the movie has a certain level of sincerity that makes up for it.

Priscilla (2023) - 8/10

This film follows a teenage Priscilla Beaulieu who meets Elvis Presley at a party, a man who is already a highly loved and respected “rock 'n' roll superstar.” I did an in depth review of Priscilla in December but to summarize, I watched this film after Baz Luhrmann‘s Elvis (2022) came out a year prior which I loved, but I knew I was going to love this film so much more, and I almost resented it for that. I went through what some would call an emotional roller coaster watching this movie. The film follows Priscilla as she moves to Memphis during her teen years, marries Elvis straight out of high school, has their baby, Lisa-Marie, and finally at the end, leaves Elvis. The whole time I was watching, I felt such devastation. Nothing incredibly dramatic happens, but I actually think that’s what made me so sad. The movie captured the feeling of loneliness so well. The loneliness of Priscilla as a teenager pacing the halls of Graceland without so much as a single friend, her emptiness as she waited for Elvis to finish wrapping up movies in California, the betrayal she experienced discovering there were other women. It all felt so raw, which is by far my favorite thing about Coppola films.