‘Damsels’: Seven out of seven

As Damsels in Distress spreads across the USA (in 57 theaters last weekend), and opens in other countries, more and more places are reviewing the movie. Many of these reviews are brief, so we’ll concentrate on the others which, this week, all seem to be pretty positive…

Greta Gerwig and Ryan Metcalf
Damsels in Distress: Greta Gerwig and Ryan Metcalf

At Den of Geek, Michael Leader is pleased, awarding 4 out of 5 stars:

Throughout, Stillman’s satire is softer [than in his previous films], and the overall tone is much gentler than one would expect. It also, at times, strays almost too closely to – whisper it – kookiness. Whereas before his characters could be unwittingly twattish, this time around his damsels and dudes are far too gloriously dumb, or deliriously gormless. It must be said, though, that this lighter tone is rather fetching.

Jeff Heinrich at the Montreal Gazette seems to have problems following non-North American accents but is otherwise upbeat:

It’s a situation rom-com, an action movie for Scrabble players, a musical comedy for fans of Fred Astaire, as the kids spell out their futures, dance and sing and grow up.

At the Kansas City Star, Rene Rodriguez continues the near-universal praise for Greta Gerwig’s performance and is generally pleased about everything else too:

Damsels in Distress is light and frothy by design – it’s an inconsequential bauble – but I laughed out loud in nearly every scene, and there are lines in the movie that still make me chuckle. This is the work of a singular voice in American cinema, except this time, everyone can be in on the jokes.

Canada’s National Post assembles a panel of three to review the film. Like most conversations, it doesn’t actually reach a conclusion, but they all seemed to enjoy it.

At Examiner.com, Brian Zitzelman is also upbeat about this “terrifically entertaining and absurd story”:

Stillman manages to ground them in this un-reality, especially Violet. He gives the story a light touch, kind of a fluffy cupcake of a movie, with Gerwig’s head-nodding lead a genuine center. Her dialogue and mannerisms might be unnatural, but Violet’s motivations and heart are true.

Over in the UK, Philip French in the Observer has what I guess is a review of the film, but in around 1000 words he manages to avoid giving much of a clue as to whether he likes the film, or thinks it any good.

Though never fully focused or explicit, Damsels in Distress seems to be a metaphor for a society that has constantly been in need of authority and responsible leadership, and where since frontier days women have seen it as their duty to set standards and improve rebellious males.

Also in the UK, the Independent’s Jonathan Romney exhibits more of an opinion, and he appears very much pleased by “a film that’s a crazy, exuberant objet, a glimmering bauble fashioned for the sheer delight of it”:

The film is gorgeously shot by Doug Emmett, who puts a summery gleam on the marble frontages, and scored by Mark Suozzo and Adam Schlesinger with echoes of breezily vacant 1950s pop. This is a feelgood film, if you must – but not in any way you’ll recognise. You’ll gape at the sheer improbability of Damsels In Distress, but go with it, and you may find it lifts your soul even as it makes your jaw drop.

And that’s a good place to end this batch of reviews.

2 thoughts on “‘Damsels’: Seven out of seven

  1. Two points. First, I will see the movie as soon as it comes to New Orleans. Apparently we are the movie boonies. It would be nice for a film like this where it will not be in every megaplex in america if it were available in a pay per view format. Kevin Smith just opened his latest film in such a manner. Next point and a major gripe. Why are there no Barcelona DVDs out there? Amazon has used ones for $78 which is ridiculous. There is amazon digital but that is also not economical over the long haul. Barcelona is my favorite film. I hadn’t heard of it and I lucked into when the film we had meant to see was sold out. I was back from a year abroad in Germany so jokes about anti-american europeans and the end of the cold war resonated. I am in a minority of my friends who prefer the movie to Metropolitan but there it is. I continue to return to the movie even after all these years. So, what gives with no DVD on this one? When are the Bluray versions of all of Whit’s movies coming out?

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