This on-screen depiction of youthful longing and parental stress from Sophia Coppola allows viewers the ability to gain insight to the perspective of teenage males into the lives of those they most admire. A group of seemingly-unattainable females are the topic of their infatuation in this film, each the victim of extreme upbringing and strict rules that keep them from normal interaction with the opposite sex in hopes of keeping their virtuous nature intact. Gaining an inside view into their everyday lives is their father, played by James Woods. This father doubles as one of their school teachers, who becomes notified of the males' interest by the way of inquiring about a school dance from one of their admires, played by Josh Hartnett. The oldest daughter seems to be the most followed, played by a young Kirsten Dunst.
The story tells the human tale of boy meets girl, becomes completely infatuated, and eventually loses her. As the title states, a complex situation arises from the stress that is brought about by having such strict parents that control their everyday lives with a ultra-conservative standpoint. Feeling set apart from the rest of their peers, they find a sense of unity among their sisterhood, for it seems to be the only thing that provides them any refuse from their endearing parental figures. Their hopes of interacting with the opposite sex become stricken with problems when rules and guidelines are not adhered to as desired, causing disruption within their lives collectively.
This film consists of an all star cast that were either established in the acting realm, or new faces upon the scene. In these roles, their ability to convey real emotion becomes a very real reality. It addresses the underlining question of how much parental control is too much, and what could allow children to make mistakes in which they cannot recover from. It also imposes the questioning of what is considered to be a natural part of growing up for both male and female counterparts, reflecting on the religious views pushed upon believers and the families that surround them. Said to be one of Coppola's finest achievements, each perspective of character is represented completely on the screen. Should children be left to live and love as they choose, finding out for themselves the pitfalls of mistakes they may make? Or is the heart to take its own course in life, saving them from their own eventual demise in the long run?