Manhattan, the early '80s. Recent graduates from an upper crust college, Alice (Sevigny) and Charlotte (Beckinsale) - flatmates and friends of a sort - pass their days working as trainee publishing editors, and most of their nights discussing social niceties at a fashionable disco where assistant manager Des (Eigeman) courts the boss's disfavour by admitting the wrong kind of clientele. The girls hang out at the disco with a preppy bunch of Harvard admen and lawyers; rumour, rivalry and falling-out is rife and relationships are frequently at risk. The third comedy of manners in Stillman's loose trilogy about the 'doomed bourgeois in love' again highlights the writer/director's expertise with naturalistically articulate dialogue whose idioms, ironies and absurdities provide vivid insights into the delusions, desires and often ludicrous tribal rituals of the young, privileged and, mostly, pretty ineffectual. Like Metropolitan and Barcelona, it's a brittle, sporadically brilliant film, very funny but rooted in social, political, historical and emotional realities. Beckinsale, especially, is a revelation, making Charlotte smug, spiteful, sexy and, underneath, rather sad, all with a spot-on accent.
Cast and crew
Robert Sean Leonard