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.