Metropolitan (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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One of the great American independent films of the 1990s, the surprise hit Metropolitan by writer-director Whit Stillman (Damsels in Distress) is a sparkling comedic chronicle of a middle-class young man’s romantic misadventures in New York City’s debutante society. Stillman’s deft, literate dialogue and hilariously highbrow observations earned this first film an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Alongside the wit and sophistication, though, lies a tender tale of adolescent anxiety.
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Top customer reviews
I love this movie ever since I watched it on TCM a couple of years of ago. I recorded it on my DVR and I have watched it too many times to remember. I love to watch it during Christmas. I'm not from Manhattan, but West Texas. Whitman script and the great delivery by these talented first time actors transports me completely. The movie production is structured like a play. The dialogue is the star of the movie and is some of the best EVER written for a movie. But, this movie is not for everybody. It rewards the careful listener and is meant for multiple viewings. I bought this Blu-Ray for the commentary which is fantastic.
Bad News: The blu-ray transfer is horrible. The picture is full of noise. Looking at the skin of the actors reveals lots of black dots. The movie was filmed in Super 16 MM (and the director himself admits in the commentary that the lighting for many of the scenes was poorly executed) so I don't know if that affected the overall quality of the source material for the Blu-Ray. But, man it is bad. In fact my DVR copy from TCM is better! Please tell Criterion to re-issue this movie into a better Blu-Ray version. It deserves it!
Although one may think that the time period and social circumstances of the characters may make for limited appeal, I believe that most people will be taken in by the storyline and not bother that they did not attend Deb week nor live in a Manhattan apartment.
In this analysis of a young aristocracy without a tradition (which Stillman understands indeed in the Burkean sense), these youths spend the holidays going to dances and hanging out afterwords at each others apartments.
I don't want to offer simply a Cliff's notes to Stillman, so I won't let out all the insights that Stillman offers, while demanding much from the viewer in order to understand them. There's the enjoyment. Just pay attention to religious symbolism; that's huge for Stillman. (Ex. there is a moment in the film when one of the character's is leaving on a train, and a hymn by Luther is playing in the background) If you want some more hints, Nationalreview.com had an interview with him a while back you can probably still get, and Intercollegiate Review had a whole journel dedicated to his works a year or so ago.
Stillman is by far the greatest director around today--his cultural commentary has the weight of a Proust or Claudel--don't miss it.
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