The cast of Whit Stillman’sMetropolitan were photographed for Vanity Fair by Jonathan Becker for the films 25th anniversary. Mark Rozzo wrote about the reunion for Vanity Fair.
“People treated it like a documentary, with real people,” says Stillman, an eternal prepster at 63. But that sprawling ensemble cast in their gowns and tuxes were, in fact, a talented bunch of young actors channeling the “urban haute bourgeoisie”—or “U.H.B.’s,” in the movie’s parlance—with razor precision. On the rare occasion of a cast get-together, they slip right back into the rapport that made the shoot so successful. “It’s like a family reunion,” says Carolyn Farina, who played the dewy bookworm Audrey Rouget.
John Teti at the A.V. Club writes an article on how Metropolitan is a great “hang-out movie.”
A great hangout movie doesn’t lack plot—it’s liberated from plot. When you remove the obligation to keep a story moving, a skilled director can allow characters to explore unresolvable questions. Metropolitan is an exemplar of this tricky form.
The Sally Fowler Rat Pack—named for the upper crust kid whose parents’ apartment is the venue for these chatty all-nighters—may be a bunch of rich kids, but they’re highly aware of their privilege. Still, even if they reject the snobby rituals they’re expected to perform, nobody offers a convincing replacement. Marxism? Cynicism? Fatalism? They try ideas on for size, like a meaning-of-life dress fitting.
They cling to the traditions of the Christmas debutante season, because they’re unsure about what happens next. And Metropolitan never provides the kids with a clear resolution, because it’s too much fun to watch them cast about for answers.
Back in 1990 Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan played in New York City for seven straight months (as Stillman states in this Official Podcast episode). Here are some New York Times ads I found from that era. Get ready to turn back the clock: