It’s hard to know when to start calling something a “review”; the previous verdict was only a couple of sentences but this one is rather longer and perhaps counts as a review proper.
For fans of Whit Stillman, it’s been a long 13-year wait since his last film in the Metropolitan/Barcelona/Last Days of Disco trilogy. Alas, for this fan of Whit Stillman, great expectations are now met with mild disappointment. Witty, literate and precisely observed, each of those earlier films was a comedy of manners. This is a mannered comedy, more stylized and theatrical, almost surreal at times, and less accommodating to his trademark brand of razor-sharp dialogue. Led by Greta Gerwig, the damsels are a quartet of undergrads in a privileged East Coast university; the distress is the fashionable depression that surrounds and occasionally engulfs them. Not to worry, though – it’s all played as a clever lark, complete with song and dance and a different brand of wit, the quixotic kind that sparkles one moment but strains badly the next. The setting is a present that feels like the past – but, for admirers of that now distant trilogy, not quite enough like the past.
(In the long run I won’t feature every review of the movie, but will only include the longer and/or more thoughtful pieces. But right now, these paragraphs are the only word we have.)