Back in 2012 we put up this preview to Whit Stillman’s first film after 13 years. Though not a top-drawer prep classic, it’s worth a view for those who can appreciate the writer-director’s subtle humor and critiques of contemporary life.
Stillman, who’s been called the missing link between Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, has previously documented the breakdown of preppy mores in his films “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona,” and “The Last Days of Disco.”
His latest is set at a fairy tale New England college, a former women’s school that was the last of its kind to go co-educational, and its protagonists are “three beautiful girls [who] set out to change the male-dominated environment of their college campus and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.”
Here’s the Boston Globe on the film:
“Damsels in Distress’’ deals with eternal emotions even as it seems to take place in a bubble outside our times. The film was shot on Staten Island in the 19th-century buildings of Sailor’s Snug Harbor; it feels like Tinker Toy Ivy League. The score references early ’60s Brill Building pop and swoony movie music like “Theme From ‘A Summer Place.’ ’’ Violet [the protagonist] and her minions are simultaneously retro and up-to-the-minute, enchanting and off-putting.
Much has changed since 2012, and “retro” and “off-putting” seem go together now more than ever. Stillman followed up “Damesels In Distress” with “Love & Friendship” in 2016. — CC