10 October 2012 | Hellmant
A quiet little piece of cinema joy if you let it be!
'DAMSELS IN DISTRESS': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Quirky teen comedy-drama about three college girls who run a Suicide Prevention Centre and offer words of wisdom and advice to troubled new college students while also trying to deal with their own issues. It was written and directed by Whit Stillman (who also helmed the eccentric comedies 'THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO', 'BARCELONA' and 'METROPOLITAN'). It stars Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton and Adam Brody. The movie is pretty aimless and slow paced but it's also always amusingly strange and whimsical.
The story is set at an East Coast college named Seven Oaks where Violet (Gerwig), Rose (Echikunwoke) and Heather (MacLemore) attend. The college has a mostly male dominated tone, despite becoming coed several years earlier, and the women feel forced in to having to deal with brutish and dimwitted guys all the time. They run a Suicide Prevention Centre and are also constantly trying to recruit freshman girls in to their clique to educate them on the ways of the campus (as well as the world). This year's recruit is Lilly (Tipton). Lilly runs in to man troubles right away and the others try to help her deal with them while also dealing with their own.
The movie has no real direction or strong character objective. It just kind of follows these young girls around as they struggle with adapting to life. It's slow and will bore the hell out of some viewers but others will be quite entranced by it (and others somewhere in between). I found the dialogue to be quite witty and funny and I loved all of the performances. I also really enjoy how quirky and in love with individuality the film seems to be. To me that's a great message to send young viewers (if they actually see the film, it might have missed it's target audience). The movie is a quiet little piece of cinema joy if you let it be.
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