Posted by: greercn | May 1, 2012

Damsels In Distress

A snappy script and visual charm make this a pleasantly distracting movie. Greta Gerwig has a great comic talent and she channels a louche Grace Kellyish look while preserving a deadpan delivery.

If you thought she was the best thing about “Greenberg” and that she almost redeemed the remake of “Arthur”, you’ll like this

After “The Last Days Of Disco” and “Metropolitan”, Whit Stillman is clearly the master of a type of film I describe as “angst at the top, with wry giggles”.

“Damsels” tells yet another tale of the America rich and quasi-intellectual. We are at Seven Oaks University, where the fraternities have Latin names (I smiled at that for a nanosecond) and the boys are beastly.

Violet (Gerwig) is on a mission to clean up the boys – quite literally – and eliminate suicide from the campus.

Violet is in a posh girl gang with Heather, Rose, Lily and, sometimes, Priss.

The best moments come from Gerwig’s comic timing, Adam Brody’s role as Fred, the suicidal depressive played by Audrey Plaza and from some sweet scenes with the beautifully-named Freak Astaire (Nick Blaemire).

Anything you see at the Notting Hill Gate Picturehouse is enhanced by the utterly beautiful surroundings. Comfy velvet seats! Beautiful walls and ceilings! Posh snacks!

My friend is not very tall and we were a little concerned about the very tall man with bushy hair in front of her. She sat on her coat and was fine, although she did say that the speed of the dialogue and the American accents did make some scenes hard to follow.

I am used to all American voices, but I think this film might be less enjoyable for those who are unaccustomed to quick American speech. Be warned, British and French readers.

Watch the trailer and, if you can follow everything that’s said, you’ll be fine. The music and dance scenes are a sort of homage to “Glee” and I enjoyed them.

If you don’t like Woody Allen movies and “Frasier”, stay away. You’ll just end up with an unattractive sneer on your face if you go see this. If the wind changes, you’ll be stuck looking like that forever.

I liked the lovely touch of tiny soaps with the Gate logo being given to us as we were leaving. This is very much in keeping with one of the “clean” plots and just gorgeous.

The respectful Gate audience seemed to enjoy it although the two young women sitting next to me left, about a half hour in. They had been chatting throughout the movie – although they shushed when I shushed them, but only for seconds – so it’s unclear to me whether they found something here to dislike or just needed to talk more than they needed to watch a movie.

This may be normal behaviour in many cinemas, but the people sitting near us heaved a collective sigh of relief as Chatty Cathy and her friend left. Gate people behave well and pay attention to the screen.

I feel certain that Violet and her chums would also have known how to behave properly at a movie.


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