Damsels in Distress

Damsels in Distress

Damsels in Distress follows a trio of beautiful girls who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast College -- the dynamic leader Violet Wister, principled Rose and sexy Heather. They welcome transfer student Lily into their group, which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men - including slick Charlie, dreamboat Xavier and the mad frat pack of Frank and Thor —who threaten the girls' friendship and sanity. 3.2 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
Damsels in Distress

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Comedy
Director Whit Stillman
Cast Adam Brody Greta Gerwig
Studio Sony Pictures UK
Release Date April 2012
Running Time 99 mins
 

Damsels in Distress follows a trio of beautiful girls who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast College -- the dynamic leader Violet Wister, principled Rose and sexy Heather. They welcome transfer student Lily into their group, which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men - including slick Charlie, dreamboat Xavier and the mad frat pack of Frank and Thor —who threaten the girls' friendship and sanity.

Reviews

The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

This is a world that appears ignorant of Facebook and Twitter and general campus politics. The characters often have the fey affectless style of something by Bret Easton Ellis, although without the drugs and sexual violence, and, for all its nurtured oddities, there is occasionally something quite real in the film's depictions of the earnestness and loneliness of student twentysomething existence.

26/04/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Stillman’s hyper-articulate satires of intellectual pride and not-so-modern romance feel like something out of time — relics, almost — but then they always have. His daft, peculiarly magical new picture Damsels in Distress plays like Restoration-comedy-goes-to-campus, and the joy of it is precisely that it could have been made in 1990.

27/04/2012

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Time Out

Cath Clarke

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.

25/04/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

For all its romanticism of the noble art of tap dance, this picture, in its archly decorous way, is a genuinely iconoclastic piece of work. That said, it’s not clear whether Stillman is breaking the rules of film-making or he’s simply unaware — or just not that interested — in the fact that they exist. The film is choppily episodic and full of unnecessary scenes. It wafts along on a tide of what could uncharitably be described as Muzak. It has no narrative climax as such. And yet, like its main character Violet (the wonderful Greta Gerwig), it’s adorable, odd and disarmingly funny.

27/04/2012

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The New Statesman

Ryan Gilbey

Quirkiness has had a steep falling off in the 14 years since the last Whit Stillman film. These days the word means Zooey Deschanel, ingratiating small-print on the sides of smoothie bottles and winsome acoustic musicians serenading strangers on train platforms in dating site commercials. Damsels in Distress has a fair stab at rescuing quirkiness from these minions of evil by suggesting that straights and squares can be rebels and misfits also.

26/04/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

Stillman's film may well strike you as anachronistic – the title is a wink at A Damsel in Distress, a 1937 Fred Astaire musical scripted by P G Wodehouse. The characters oddly resemble swains and shepherdesses in 18th-century pastoral, and you wonder when Gerwig will turn up with an attendant baa-lamb. At one point, there's a lecture about the Dandy Tradition in Literature, with reference to the quintessentially precious English novelist Ronald Firbank – and the film plays rather as if Firbank had been brought in to doctor a Woody Allen script.

29/04/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

Though never fully focused or explicit, Damsels in Distress seems to be a metaphor for a society that has constantly been in need of authority and responsible leadership, and where since frontier days women have seen it as their duty to set standards and improve rebellious males.

29/04/2012

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Total Film

Matt Mueller

While he’s never been one for iron-clad plotting, Damsels is especially rudderless, punctuated by batty observations and didactic arguments that spin off into tangents that don’t make much sense. Thirteen years is a long time, and Stillman’s rustiness shows. Thankfully, he’s still got a wicked way with words, and Gerwig gives off so much sparkle that we’re prepared to grant Damsels a pass.

18/04/2012

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The Evening Standard

The Evening Standard

It will seem hopelessly old-fashioned and even fey to some and a glimpse of clear blue water to others.

27/04/2012

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

Often on the verge of being incredibly funny, and there’s always the promise of an epiphany too, or layers of tragic political allegory – none of which really goes anywhere.

26/04/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

For a while you wonder if it's preparing a war of the sexes, when Violet's boyfriend Frank (Ryan Metcalf) betrays her for another, but then it becomes apparent that the college males are a feckless fraternity ...The film's problem is that, while the women are plainly a superior species, they're not much easier to like. Violet and her crew all speak in the same prissy, hyperverbal manner, aiming for an epigrammatic drollery that more often than not falls flat. It's as though Stillman is determined to have his cast homogenise every line-reading – "once again, please, only this time even more inconsequential".

27/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Jonathan Dean

A dated campus comedy with few laughs, this will wow those who like their American indie stilted and smug.

29/04/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

The end result doesn’t so much reflect a filmmaker dancing to the kooky beat of his own drum, but one capriciously flailing around because he’s used up all his best moves.

26/04/2012

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