Here’s a throwback Thursday article, written in 2015 by Charles Mudede for The Stranger on November 25, 2015, titled: The After-Party Lingers On. The article is Mudede’s take on Metropolitan and his experience watching it.
Charles Mudede is the co-writer of the Seattle set, Police Beat.
Though the film is deliberately vague about its time period, presumably for budgetary reasons, the title card tells us we’re in a Manhattan of “not so very long ago.” Metropolitan is not set during the late-1980s, when it was shot, but 20 years earlier, in the late-1960s.
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?