Damsels in Distress (Bilingual)
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Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress is a wonderfully offbeat comedy about a trio of beautiful girls as they set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American university. Led by the dynamic Violet (Greta Gerwig), principled Rode (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore), they welcome transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) into their group which seeks to help severely depressed students through a program of donuts and tap dancing. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men-including smooth Charlie (Adam Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker) and the mad frat pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen) - who threaten the girls’ friendship and sanity...
Demoiselles en détresse de Whit Stillman, est une comédie remarquablement originale sur trois jolies filles qui veulent révolutionner la vie sur le campus d’une université américaine. Formé de la dynamique Violet (Greta Gerwig), de l’intègre Rode (Megalyn Echikunwoke) et de la sensuelle Heather (Carrie MacLemore), le trio accueille Lily (Analeigh Tipton), une nouvelle étudiante, au sein de leur groupe qui tente de réconforter les étudiants gravement déprimés à l’aide d’une meilleure alimentation et de numéros de claquettes. Les filles s’amourachent d’une bande de gars, dont le suave Charlie (Adam Brody), le beau Xavier (Hugo Becker) et les deux cinglés Frank (Ryan Metcalf) et Thor (Billy Magnussen) – qui constituent une sérieuse menace pour l’amitié et la santé mentale des filles...
Writer-director Whit Stillman let more than a decade lapse between 1998's Last Days of Disco and 2012's Damsels in Distress. Happily, the Whit and wisdom (and slightly pixilated screwball style) did not diminish one iota during Stillman's layoff: Damsels is literate and daffy in equal measure. It's tempting to describe the movie's subject as Clueless-in-college, as it features a group of young women who share a very specific set of theories and rules about behavior between the sexes. In particular, Violet (Greta Gerwig) and her sidekicks Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and Heather (Carrie MacLemore) descend upon Lily (Analeigh Tipton), a newcomer at a tony Ivy League (or Ivy League-ish) university, with a mind toward "helping" the gawky--but by no means helpless, really--coed. Violet is full of curious ideas about men, which she delivers with full confidence, even though her theories don't play all that well in reality. Gerwig (from Greenberg and many indie titles) makes a meal of this role, her wide-eyed sincerity and deadpan drawl perfectly suited to Stillman's cheerfully stylized dialogue. In fact, the entire film takes place inside a sun-washed cocoon even more tightly knit than Stillman's previous movies; there's little hint of the real world here, just a comedy of manners closer to the universe of Oscar Wilde and Preston Sturges than the place you went to college. And yet some truths come along, which gives a tang to the wackiness. And now, everybody do the international dance craze known as the Sambola! --Robert Horton
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Top international reviews
Fourteen years later, he's still at it. Damsels in Distress is about a trio of girls, led by 'Violet' (Greta Gerwig), who are determined to introduce civility and cleanliness to their male-dominated college campus. They plan to do this with cookies, soap, and tap dancing. A more sceptical girl, Lily, joins their group; she questions their methods. So does the editor of the college newspaper. So does one of the tap-dancing girls they are trying to help. It then transpires that Violet does not have an unblemished history of sanity herself. Despite everything, will she and her friends manage to bring civilisation to the frat guys?
This is a great set up. Infuriatingly -- as also happened in Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco -- the film wanders away from this central premise and dwindles into a prolonged dating story. Who is going to pair off with whom? Will Violet end up with Pete, Frank, or Xavier? The fact is, we don't care: they all look identical anyway. Whit Stillman is such a good filmmaker in so many other ways that you wonder if this sort of drifting storyline is intentional. I'm not sure it is. Metropolitan is the only one of his films to deliver a strong story, and is the better film for it. The eventual union of left-wing Tom and preppy Audrey dramatises the film's central theme. Having watched Damsels In Distress three times now, I can't even remember who Violet ends up with, or why it should matter.
But there is so much else to enjoy here. The earnest, jejeune dialogue that is Stillman's trademark. Tap-dancing. A college guy who doesn't know the names of the primary colours. An unforced good-naturedness. An admirable resistance to modern fads. Excellent performances by Greta Gerwig and fellow actors. And a funny scene in a diner involving a bar of soap and two highway repair men. Despite its flaws it's far better than most of the comedies being made these days, and for that alone it's worth five stars.
Du Rhomer américain en fait.
L'actrice Greta Gerwig sera la prochaine Meryl Streep.
Film typiquement indépendant des majors, bon en gros c'est un peu vain quand même.