3 Apr

I had never heard of Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan until a couple of years ago when I came across it by chance. Better known for his film “The last days of disco” with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, this earlier feaure is a forgotten gem which deserves to be dusted off. On the film cover, the cation underneath the title reads “Doomed. Bourgeois. In Love” . The story begins when West sider Tom Townsend unwittingly gets mixed up with a group of priviledged East siders, the Sally Fowler Rat Pack or SFRP, in full swing of the debutant season. Meeting every night to discuss politics, philosophy and literature, the film could be considered a social satire in the way it gently makes fun of the characters and their opinions. One striking thing about it though is that in spite of the audience’s natural antipathy towards this preppy set, we become charmed by them and gripped by every twist in the story. These are young people of the cusp of a dying generation who know that great changes lie around the corner. You could classify it as just another East Coast talkfest but it never becomes heavy or boring, in spite of the serious topics. It’s amazing how with such a low budget and such young, unknown actors, with many of them in their first major role, Stillman could craft such a beautiful film full of terrific one liners and superby developed characters. It’s a film that really stays with you long after the credits roll and one which seems to improve with each viewing.  My particular favourite part is when the group is walking through the streets of New York in the middle of winter and they ask Tom if he isn’t cold with only a trenchcoat on to which he replies that it’s actually very warm because it has a lining.  Classic.


2 Responses to “Metropolitan”

  1. Des April 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Yes! This is such an outstanding film. And I just happened upon it by chance the same way that you did. It is so difficult to execute a film like this, but Stillman does an excellent job here.

    • emilycinephile April 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      I had a feeling you might know this film too and am glad you also love it. Such a pity the outstanding cast didn’t go on to bigger and better things.

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