5 Movies for the Virgo in Us All

Full disclosure: My sun is in Virgo. It’s my season! And it’s timed with “back-to-school” for a reason! Change is in the air. The slate is clean. Likely because some Virgo cleaned it.

Virgos see things other people don’t: Patterns, aberrations, errors, connections, commonalities. They have very good and very long memories. They don’t cut corners. They don’t cut in line. They read the paper. They do the crossword. They have a reputation for being uptight, type-A neat freaks, but that’s just because they are way, way, way more intimate with chaos than we give them credit for. Funnier, too. And if a Virgo loves you, take it as a high compliment, because they have observed and catalogued all of your many flaws and decided they’re all-in anyway. They’re also excruciatingly aware of their own flaws, and they’re working really hard on them.

In that spirit, and to maximize the Virgo vibes until lovely Libra swans in and slows us all down a little, here are five great movies that really capture the essence of this sign’s grounded dynamism:

Phantom Thread dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017

Just put a picture of Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock next to the definition of Virgo in the dictionary and call it a day. We all saw what it takes to get him to take a day off! Romantic gestures are seen as an egregious breach of routine; fastidious may as well be his middle name, and control (over himself as well as others) is his currency. “Just let me do it,” he hisses through clenched teeth. He has a tongue as sharp as his fabric shears and it’s painfully obvious that his exacting machinations belie a brutal inner critic. You’ve got to grudgingly admire his commitment to rigidity, even if it infuriates you…and invokes more than a little bit of pity.

Fitzcarraldo dir. Werner Herzog, 1982

Great movies are all about the details — and Virgos are detail-oriented — so it should be absolutely no surprise that there are lots of beloved Virgo directors! There’s Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann, Ava DuVernay, David Fincher, Dario Argento, Guy Ritchie…the list goes on. But perhaps no director is more worthy of their Virgo status than Werner Herzog, and perhaps no movie epitomizes this more than his epic colonizer adventure-drama, Fitzcarraldo. Herzog insisted the movie be shot on location, thousands of miles from civilization, and because Fitzcarraldo endeavors to transport a 320-ton steamship over a mountain using human power and ingenuity alone, he was determined to attempt the same. Documenting Fitzcarraldo’s production for his incredible behind-the-scenes film Burden of Dreams nearly killed director Les Blank, and it actually did kill multiple extras, to say nothing of injuries due to plane crashes, snake bites, and the like. Despite this, despite the need for multiple re-shoots and re-castings and a relocation to boot, and despite basically driving Herzog (and his volatile leading man, Klaus Kinski) mad, this movie got made. Unchecked Virgo hubris is a hell of a drug, and it’s why Virgos often can’t bring themselves to quit, even if they probably (definitely) should.

Election dir. Alexander Payne, 1999

Reese Witherspoon may be an Aries, but Tracy Flick, like Hermione Granger, is a gold star, Virgo. Both would rather be right than be liked, but they’re really going for both. Competitive, enterprising, precocious, annoying, and kind of terrifying as far as her commitment to doing the most goes, Tracy is a force of nature. But, and this is important, she also has a secret side! Let’s just say that there’s a reason that Virgos are considered the “undercover freaks” of the zodiac, and it’s because all of that self-inflicted pressure and repression needs a release valve somewhere (and also because they want to be good at everything. Everything). Let this movie serve as a powerful lesson: If you want to try and take one on (or take one down), you’d better be prepared to get steamrolled — and probably stung.

Sunshine Cleaning Dir. Christine Jeffs, 2008

In this indie dramedy, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt play sisters who start a crime scene cleanup service. Here, the Virgo vibes really emanate from Adams, who not only takes care of everyone around her to sublimate her own dissatisfaction and darkness but also innately understands the truly magical power of cleaning, whether it’s at an upscale suburban home or in the aftermath of grisly death. Her worst nightmares come to fruition when, against her better judgment, she leaves her little sister in charge while she tries to go enjoy herself a little. And what happens? Spoiler alert: Her sister literally burns the house down. Virgos get a lot of shade for having a martyr complex, but they’re just afraid that something horrible will transpire if they’re not the ones at the wheel. So you can pry that wheel from their cold, dead hands, thankyouverymuch.

Singin’ in the Rain dir. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952

I’m sorry to be so unabashed, but this musical-within-a-musical is one of the all-time greats. It’s hilarious, clever, exuberant, and it was a technical nightmare to pull off, and it pushed Gene Kelly, as well as his co-stars Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, to their physical limits. “Make it looks easy and fun by rehearsing it until you collapse” is peak Virgo, and calls to mind two other consummate Virgo performers: Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. Yes, we mentioned Beyoncé. Nothing about Virgo season can consider itself complete without mentioning Beyoncé; I don’t make the rules. As it happens, Gene Kelly was born on the knife’s edge of Leo, but his rising sign is Virgo, that’s where his Mars and his Venus are, as well. That’s not an excuse for how scathingly critical a taskmaster he was to the nineteen-year-old Reynolds onset, but it is a possible explanation.

Can you believe we’re halfway through the astrological year? Take a tour of the cinematic zodiac with all of the Cinescopes we’ve published so far: Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo!
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