The new film from Whit Stillman, centers on four young girls at an East Coast college. The leader of the group Violet (Greta Gerwig), Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), Heather (Carrie MacLemore) and new girl Lily (Analeigh Tipton) freshly taken under Violets wing, set out to help their fellow students from depression, armed with coffee, donuts and tap dancing in their suicide prevention centre. The story darts back and forth from Lily and her romances to Violet and heartbreak, mental issues and in the end, her own romance back and forth, leaving the the story feeling uneven and underdeveloped. Clearly Stillman is a fine film maker as the film filled with a dry humor, witch observed closely enough is a clever satire on college life.
However, as clever as the jokes maybe, they fall flat on the characters. Everyone plays their roles well, it’s just that the roles themselves are deeply irritating. So here lies main problem with Damsels in Distress, is that the main characters are just the most pretentious, self serving sobs I have seen on screen in a long time. The type that hold their noses consistently at fellow students because they consider them smelly, while offering the type of advice like dating someone who is not conventionally good looking (Evan though they do). Who think the key to depression is a cretin type of soap and inventing a new dance craze. If you can put up with that and Rose’s fake British accent (because she speaks with it through out the entirety), then you might find something in this whimsical tale of college, men and dancing. But right now, I really need some coffee and a donut.
A required taste, if you can get behind the characters, you may find something to enjoy, if not, (gulp) good luck.