I have enjoyed Whit Stillman’s deadpan social satire over the years, and I think Greta Gerwig is just great, and I liked Analeigh Tipton a lot in this, and I love the insular charm of college campuses, and I wanted to like DAMSELS IN DISTRESS for all of those reasons, and, well, I didn’t quite, because Stillman’s stylistic affectlessness took the energy out of it this time, even though I wouldn’t have missed this film for the world, and might even give it another chance, thinking that for all that I may have missed something.
Speaking of the just great Gerwig, I thoroughly enjoyed LOLA VERSUS, in which she is also appearing. It has a lot of taste and intelligence and avoids the obvious except when you want it to be there. Zoe Lister Jones and Daryl Wein‘s screenplay, and the latter’s direction, brim over with generational truth.
Given how appealing Gerwig is as the young woman in question, it is also a perfect example of the breakup genre, in which the protagonist is always so utterly desirable as to make whoever does the breaking up seem to be completely crazy – in other words, good riddance, however nice or attractive he (in this case) might be. There’s the usual soul searching on the part of the victim as to her own shortcomings, but the bottom line is always: What was he thinking?, with a dollop of: Serves him right!
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