Customer Reviews: Damsels in Distress
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on October 13, 2012
After reading reviews I thought this film would be much different than his others but now that I have seen it I think it was quite similar. It is critical, smart, interesting, and funny. Some of the dialogue is absolutely hilarious. Whit Stillman is the only filmmaker I know of that writes pretty realistic yet comic films about the elite. It is fascinating to me to see how these people think. This film, even more than his others, shows how sad and pathetic the people that run the world really are. Sure they are oppressing just about everyone on earth and their actions cause untold devastation and suffering yet they believe they are doing the right thing "God's Work". This is a scathing yet sympathetic critique of the American aristocracy. One would think this would be impossible but here it is. He really has matured as a filmmaker. This is his most complex and nuanced work yet. Also, as with most cutting edge art, this film will likely require repeated exposure for one to learn to really appreciate its brilliance. I look forward to many further viewings.
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on April 21, 2016
There are two kinds of movies: movies that believe what they're trying to sell to you, and movies that don't believe any of it. Damsels in Distress is delightfully in the latter category, and this alone gives it four stars. That fifth star would be a hard sell, though. The characters are either confusing or boneheads; the plot is chaotic and is simply meant to push the dialogue along. But my goodness, what dialogue! This merciless skewering of the college experience hits closer to home than anything I've read on the subject, including Tom Wolfe's attempts. This is my first Whit Stillman film and I'm ready to watch the rest.
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on June 14, 2016
A fine ensemble cast. Stillman's whit is in fine form. Perhaps not as brilliant as the Metropolitan/Barcelona/Last Days of Disco trilogy or Love and Friendship, Damsels is a lot of fun and a worthy watch.
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on April 30, 2015
Its not a great movie. If you are interested in Whit Stillman you should watch Barcelona with Mira Sorvino. This one seems aimless and lacks focus. The first time I watched it I thought it was awful but now I have re-watched several times and found it enjoyable. Not a great movie but still gave it 5 stars because its the kind of thing you can have playing in the background while you work. Just don't expect anything.
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on August 4, 2014
The 4th film by Whit Stillman(Metropolitan-1990, Barcelona-1994, and The Last Days of Disco-1998. Where have you been for 15 years. If you enjoy great dialogue, good humor and good drama, this is for you.
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on November 26, 2012
I really was not expecting too much from Whit Stillman in this fourth movie. It's been a long time since the last one, and in some ways, those movies seem to belong to a different time. So, I was startled when I liked this so much. Actually, I loved it, watched it twice in one day and kept going back to parts of it even after that. This is a great movie. Quirky, beautifully filmed and acted, and very funny.

That having been said, this type of movie is not everyone's cup of tea. If you liked Metropolitan or Barcelona or Last Days of Disco, though, I'm betting you'll like this one, too.

The movie takes place on a placid college campus somewhere in the Northeast. It introduces us to the lives of four decidedly complicated women/ roommates who want to meet boys through their altruistic project.

I found the film to be alternately hilarious, really hilarious, and moving.

If you're not familiar with Stillman's other movies, they're similar to Woody Allen or the Before Sunrise/Sunset movies of Richard Linklater. I've got to say, though, Stillman's vision of life is much richer and more nuanced than either of those Directors.

Despite appearances, though, this isn't really of the "college comedy" genre, and if that's what you're expecting, you'll be disappointed. To me - who thought I was in on the joke, than began to wonder if I was the butt of the joke, then thought I was on the inside again - but with this guy who knows - it was two hours of terrific entertainment. Easily worth the cost of the rental.
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on February 15, 2016
It has negligable plot and storyline, but every couple of minutes there's a really great line.

Not so continuously that it's silly, but as often as it can and create retain a laid-back quality.
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on May 5, 2012
Life, perhaps, is an allusion. Therefore, gentle reader, please move on to a different review if you don't smile in Pavlovian fashion when hearing uttered the name "Whit Stillman."

Recently I learned that Stillman's Last Days of Disco has yet to break even in sales. Alas, how long we NCAs (see below) have waited since they booked that clown! Damsels in Distress, gratefully, is scarcely stillborn-- rather, it's more Still. If you have worn laser holes into your Criterion-Collection copies of Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco, then Damsels will not disappoint. However, if you are unfamiliar with the signature dialogue, settings, motifs, and characters of this returned-to-America auteur, perhaps Damsels will disappoint. Here, I write for the initiates. (And for these, I whisper, "Watch closely: the professor and one of the two off-campus waitresses are familiar friends from the trilogy!")

What's to tell? There are four principle characters, all matriculated at Ivy-Shrouded Seven Oaks College after prepping in the usual way. While it is true that Greta Gerwig's Violet is the heroine, Carrie MacLemore as Heather, Megalyn Echikunwoke as Rose, and Analeigh Tipton as Lily make Damsels another ensemble piece.

I live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, and while many who bedroom here commute to Manhattan, it is the home of Mack Trucks and Bethlehem Steel, which is sufficient explanation for why during both my first viewing of Metropolitan and of Damsels (in the selfsame indy-theatre complex), I annoyed many in the audience with my vulgar guffaws and howls of laughter while the rest of the moviegoers were silent.

Stillman, gratifyingly, is at the top of his game in Damsels. As with the trilogy, I will never grow tired of watching this film. I found Damsels as pitch-perfect as the trilogy, and while not so small-budgeted as Metropolitan, Damsels finds Stillman able to deadpan as much mirth as ever without the expenses of Disco. I do hope Mr. Stillman does not keep his Nearly Cultist Aficionados waiting so long before his next cinematic venture.

Neither my wife nor I were born with Stillman's or his characters' class prerogatives, and our Phi Beta Kappa keys from the familiar safety school of our locale--namely, Lehigh University--have done us absolutely no good for over thirty years, at least with respect to our wannabe aspirations, much like those of Luis Buñuel. We have an old poster of Barcelona on the wall of my workspace, which is slightly more commodious than a railroad-apartment's standard room.

While unfit to play croquet with either Mr. Stillman or Jamie Johnson, I wish to thank Mr. S. for bringing delight to those with the ears and eyes to hear and see. We do associate with Episcopalians, but none of these sired debutante progeny waiting in the Hamptons for the season to begin.
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on April 17, 2014
First, I am a major Whit Stillman fan. Last Days of Disco, Barcelona, and the wonderful Metropolitan are among my top favorite movies. Smart, funny, literate, observant of a tribe -- the WASPs -- no one bothers with anymore. But this movie is incomprehensible. It's almost as if anyone who does a movie with Greta Gerwig becomes weirdly spellbound and ends up making her film about her horrible dancing (see of don't see Hannah Ah). Stop already! The movie starts out with an interesting premise -- attractive young girls at a mediocre Northeastern college who are mean-girl opposites. They want to save students from committing suicide by teaching them to tap dance. On the look out for depressed under grads they are well-meaning but intrusive. It's promising beginning, however, disintegrates into a tangle of overly eccentric relationships that make no emotional sense at all and that pop up and disappear as if Stillman is making the movie up as he goes along. It ends for no reason except to allow Greta to gamely dance with a throw-away young man through a 30-like set with a Fred Astaire musical bit. And I was so looking forward to this movie!
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on December 27, 2014
Offbeat (non Hollywood formula) are always the best. This story is particularly well done. Just love Analeigh Tipton. She is always worth the price of admission.
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