Only a handful of scholars have discussed Metropolitan, and even fewer have sounded its mystery. The film implies its own “apparent inconsistencies” as a whole in Audrey’s reflections upon her would-be boyfriend. To bring the puzzles of Metropolitan to light, we should focus, therefore, on Tom Townsend, who embodies the film’s very purposeful reserve.
Consider what Tom’s name portends. “Thomas” means “twin” in Aramaic. As we shall see, Tom is symbolically Nick’s twin. “Townsend” is a rare toponym indicating “residence at the extremity of a city,” and Tom indeed dwells on the far opposite end of Manhattan to his Upper Eastside friends. But why was Tom’s ancestor surnamed relative to an urban center rather than after his character, say, or his profession?