Damsels in Distress (12A)

Film

Damsels in Distress

From left, Carrie MacLemore, Greta Gerwig and Megalyn Echikunwoke in Damsels in Distress

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 24 2012

After directing a trio of highbrow preppy comedies in the ’90s, Whit Stillman disappeared. Now he’s back with this delightfully deadpan, elegantly anachronistic campus movie. What took him so long? Maybe he’s been waiting for a girl like Greta Gerwig to come along.

In the 28-year-old, the director has found his soulmate: here’s an actress who delivers his hyper-literate dialogue with aplomb, who has an air of having spent her teens listening to Jacques Brel and watching ‘Annie Hall’ on repeat. She stars as Violet, the ringleader of a gang of girls at an East Coast American university whose mission is to make college life more fragrant: they’re not so much mean girls as girls who mean well.

For all its eccentric charms, ‘Damsels’ is an acquired taste. If the prospect of a pair of undergraduates self-consciously discussing whether love is more like algebra or geometry causes your lip to curl into an involuntary sneer, you may well find this film infuriatingly mannered and faux. Even fans might find it hard to shift gears into Stillman’s world this time round. He calls it utopian. And what he means is he’s stripped it of such vulgarities as gum-chewing, swear words and explicit sex (there is a running joke about anal sex, but even that bookishly involves a heretical breakaway Christian sect).

Violet and her twinset crew run the campus’s Suicide Centre (aim: prevention), treating depression with tap dancing. Violet’s ambition is to start a dance craze and she has a peculiar take on relationships: intelligent men are to be avoided; stick to meatheads. The group takes a new girl (Analeigh Tipton) under its wing; she turns out to be a cuckoo in the nest and her boyfriend a rat, and Violet becomes depressed, or, as she says, has a tailspin. While the comedy might be patchy, Gerwig and Stillman make for quite the two-step.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Apr 27, 2012

Duration:

99 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Whit Stillman

Cast:

Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Greta Gerwig

Screenwriter:

Whit Stillman

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|8
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Elese

What a breath of fresh air (by the way, love the lines about cliches in the film!) This film has flaws but is so loveable with them. I've seen such negative reviews in the UK and it doesn't surprise me. Don't let the sneering cynics take over. There is a knowingness in this film too. What cynics don't get is that people like the director have probably been through the cynicism phase too but have moved on to a higher level. I wish those sneerers would too. I saw Mark Kermode/Simon Mayo on video discussing the film. I wasn't surprised that the latter hated it but am still amazed that terms like "bomb" and "slap" were used about the female characters (he read out a mail from one viewer who said he was still angry about the film 6 months after seeing it). There's a lot of mysoginism that goes unchecked here too and a lot of females collude in it unwittingly or not. This film is appreciated in countries and by people who don't get angry at intelligent women - to paraphrase Dennis Watterman. The film is charming - a word I wish we could use more about contemporary films which all seem to follow a formula. This film even feels subversive with its lack of swearing!

Elese

What a breath of fresh air (by the way, love the lines about cliches in the film!) This film has flaws but is so loveable with them. I've seen such negative reviews in the UK and it doesn't surprise me. Don't let the sneering cynics take over. There is a knowingness in this film too. What cynics don't get is that people like the director have probably been through the cynicism phase too but have moved on to a higher level. I wish those sneerers would too. I saw Mark Kermode/Simon Mayo on video discussing the film. I wasn't surprised that the latter hated it but am still amazed that terms like "bomb" and "slap" were used about the female characters (he read out a mail from one viewer who said he was still angry about the film 6 months after seeing it). There's a lot of mysoginism that goes unchecked here too and a lot of females collude in it unwittingly or not. This film is appreciated in countries and by people who don't get angry at intelligent women - to paraphrase Dennis Watterman. The film is charming - a word I wish we could use more about contemporary films which all seem to follow a formula. This film even feels subversive with its lack of swearing!

john o sullivan

so good i wanted to hide and watch again Gerwig is astonishing againlike a curis hybrid of aAnna Farris and Jessica Chastain the rest of the cast are delightful cant wait for the dvd as the dialogue is so smart you want subtitles so many great themes from N.P.S.to fear of rainbows.. the last time I had some much fiun .. was Happiness all those years ago

john o sullivan

so good i wanted to hide and watch again Gerwig is astonishing againlike a curis hybrid of aAnna Farris and Jessica Chastain the rest of the cast are delightful cant wait for the dvd as the dialogue is so smart you want subtitles so many great themes from N.P.S.to fear of rainbows.. the last time I had some much fiun .. was Happiness all those years ago

jules

This film is pathetic, poor actors , no story, just shred your £20 note under the shower and you will enjoy a nicer feeling.

jules

This film is pathetic, poor actors , no story, just shred your £20 note under the shower and you will enjoy a nicer feeling.