Some sort of film that raises laughs despite its end credits, Whit Stillmans whimsical campus humor “Damsels in Distress” can be an utter delight. Making a welcome return to helming after a lengthy sabbatical following 1998s “The Final Days of Disco, ” Stillman proves he still knows tips on how to write crackling, articulate dialogue for quirky preppie people whom he loves laughing at approximately with. Pics young cast, led by Greta Gerwig, features enough up-and-coming labels on its roster to pull in a younger demographic to supplement Stillmans older group of followers, which should rescue “Damsels” in the niche, upmarket margins.
Sweet-natured Violet (Gerwig, “Greenberg”) and the woman coed coevals Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke, “24, ” “That 70s Show”) along with Heather (Carrie Maclemore, “Gossip Girl”) are pupils on a mission. Dedicated to making Seven Oaks U., their alma mater, a more fragrant along with pleasant place, they seek to overcome the Neanderthal male populaces body-odor dilemma by promoting good practices, and stoically accept it really is their lot in life thus far frat boys far much more stupid and less good-looking compared to themselves. After all, as Violet says in on the list of pics many quotable lines, “The tendency, very widespread, to always seek somebody cooler than yourself (can be) always a stretch, often a big expand. Why not instead discover someone whos frankly second-rate? ”
Among their other projects (Violets lifelong ambition is always to invent a new party craze) and philanthropic corporations, they run the suicide-prevention center on campus where the doughnuts are generally free, but only to anyone verifiably depressed. Accompanied by Lily (Analeigh Tipton, “Crazy Stupid Love, ” “Americas Next Major Model”), the newest addition to their clique, theyre willing to rush to the aid of anyone in a tailspin after a recent break-up, their survival strategies usually revolving round the advisability of dating uglier, stupider men than one self.
Violets help backfires on her behalf when one student, Priss (Caitlin Fitzgerald), takes up with Violets own intellectually challenged b. f., Frank (Ryan Metcalf), a frat boy so dim he literally doesnt even know the colour of own eyes. At least he could identify colors, though, unlike his buddy Thor (Billy Magnussen, superb), who has been educationally equipment by his pushy parents insistence that he skip kindergarten. Later, Violet connects with Charlie (Adam Brody), one of Lilys beaus, who like Violet isnt all he seems possesses a gift for reinvention.
Pic is chockfull connected with daft digressions and sweetly foolish subplots, but the ensemble goes at all of it with such deadpan rigor, it plays like vintage screwball comedy minus the pratfalls, apart from what must be essentially the most uproariously funny suicide endeavors in recent film heritage. Positively boiling with sharpened, almost casually dispensed zingers, repeated phrases (Rose is on a suspicious vigil versus “playboy or operator types”), and dialogue that most likely are not so funny when replicated in isolation but is hilarious in context, Stillmans screenplay is an engineering marvel.
Helmers comic timing is likewise on the money, but in a largely self-effacing, quietly efficient way of which recalls the old-school craftsmen connected with Hollywoods golden age, like Howard Hawks in a very breezy mood.