|List Price: $2.99
Our Price: $2.99
- A bit talky - but a classic.
This movie is not a cult movie in the traditional sense, but in the sense in how that word is being thrown about these days. Is it an independent film sure, but is it a campy film? By no means. This is a very dialogue oriented film, but unlike Ivory Merchant films, the dialogue is witty and enjoyable. In reality, this film could easily be a play, and that is saying quite a lot. The plot has been explained earlier, so I won't waste your time. Is this movie good? Yes. Should you own it? If you like thought-provoking movies, that actually require you to listen to the dialogue. It's not a huge film, but a quiet piece that should be in every library....more info
- Very smart, insightful, ironic humor. A great flick.
I found the acting to be well done, the characters extremely well developed and sympethetic in their own way....more info
- overblown and overrated, don't believe the hype!
I sit here with mouth agape as I read prior reviews of this ridiculously shallow one-track mind trash. The director, who also did the yawnfest, Barcelona, has absolutely no sense of flow or wit. And yet critics seem to gravitate towards this nonsense. If this type of casual diatribe is what you dig, then try the Merchant-Ivory claptrap which at least contributes some costume design. Or better yet, see Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason-Leigh in the Dorothy Parker film. At least you will laugh. Nothing funny here, and nothing interesting for that matter. All you are subjected to is soap-operish musings about class and a kindergarten philosophy that grows stale with 5 minutes of alertness. I really wanted to try to find something positive about this film. Even the self conscious rantings were stilted with apologies. I can't see how anyone could take stuff like this even remotely seriously. Don't fall into the trap and don't believe the hype!...more info
- The Discreet Charm of the UHB
Made for almost nothing, Whit Stillman's lovely first film from 1990 demonstrates that the pleasures of film can lie in dialogue as well as in images in motion. Tom Townsend, a cynical Princetonian from the West Side, is persuaded to invest in renting a tux by a set of more privileged peers who want him to accompany them to debutante balls at glamorous faded hotels like the Plaza and the St. Regis, and then hang out until all hours in their deluxe East Side apartments afterwards. The film cuts costs as ingeniously as Tom by filming most of its scenes in these swanky living rooms (one of which was owned by the parents of one of the young actors). The film depicts a basically Fitzgeraldean vision of the young and wealthy, with the boys mostly romantic cynics and all the young women (except the idealized Audrey, the shy heroine who falls in love with Tom) more pragmatic and sexually adventurous. But Stillman's feel for this world seems very real, and his dialogue is very sprakiling and literate (the intellectual sources the young people cite--Fourier and Trilling--are charmingly anachronistic). The cast is excellent, although the standouts are Chris Eigemann, as the funny and trenchant Nick, and the gifted Carolyn Farina, who makes the timid Audrey seem deeply endearing. ...more info
- A tender-hearted, funny, smart love story
This film is a subtle love story. Whit Stillman does an excellent job of writing this piece which transcends social boundaries. Even the working-class people, like myself, can find something in this work and relate to it...especially the part about relationships. But I also enjoyed all the literary references and Stillman's injection of perhaps his own upbringing: Steiff bears, Brooks Brothers, Thorstein Veblen, Farmington debutantes, etc. It's not something I grew up with but watching this film I learned something other than what I grew up in. And yes, there is a hint of romance. But it's very well done. Not at all over the top. I recommend this film to people who are interested in broadening their horizons and who care for excellent dialogue and acting....more info
- A Gatsby for the 90s
This 1990 film by writer-director Whit Stillman is wonderfully refreshing and intelligent. It is sure to please audiences with a taste for the avant-garde or those just looking for something a little different.
The story follows a group of upper-crust New York preppies during the Christmas debutante season. These are kids for whom black-tie balls at the Plaza Hotel and charming little soirees in Park Avenue apartments are serious matters. They are the UHB-"urban haute bourgeoisie"-a social circle carrying out traditions so anachronistic as to seem alien; traditions, in fact, which were outdated before these characters were even born.
A middle class outsider and budding socialist named Tom Townsend (Edward Clements) happens into this elite group and briefly livens things up. He shocks them with his leftist rhetoric (he is a devotee of Fourier) and anti-deb outlook, but they nonetheless find themselves drawn to him. Tom finds a kindred spirit in the cynically fatalistic Nick (Christopher Eigeman). Nick is the most self-aware member of the inner circle and he provides comic relief with his devastating ongoing critique of their lives and behavior.
Stillman's characters seem to have everything going for them. They are bright and educated and come from very wealthy families. We learn, though, that privilege is both their blessing and their curse. These children of status are destined to always remain in the shadow of their very successful parents. As one of them puts it, "We're doomed to failure." We come to realize that even though they are well-off in many ways, they still must struggle with the same insecurities and fears as the rest of us.
The characters in "Metropolitan" are the kind of people that F. Scott Fitzgerald knew so well. Indeed, if Fitzgerald had been a director rather than a writer, this is the type of film he might have made. It is intelligent and literate with dialogue that almost crackles with its liveliness and wit. "Metropolitan" gives us a rare glimpse into a world that scarcely exists anymore, if it ever really did. It is a real treasure....more info
- Funny, charming, and moving--for just about anyone
A word of warning: if you're a smarmy, "class-conscious" neo-Marxist loser who's never loved anyone (and don't have a chance in hell of anyone decent loving you), or if you're a racist jerk who thinks skin color is the only important feature of a person, you won't get anything out of this movie. But if you've ever fallen in love, if you've ever longed to be with someone during the holidays, if you've ever experienced the joys and frustrations of friendship and life as a young adult, then this is a movie to buy and enjoy again and again....more info
- For the upper-class
One of my 10 favorite films of all time,sadly forgotten.I think it really only appeals to upper-class people,but then I don`t know so much.Notice sleeping Fred,a colourful background-character....more info
One of my favorite movies, with an utterly memorable cast and a sparkling script. Thank you, Criterion, for putting this on DVD at last....more info
- Boring. Dull. Uninteresting.
An alleged comedy about a bunch of rich white brats who have never done a day's work in their lives sitting around complaining that their lives lack meaning. Unfunny, uninteresting, and devoid of any kind of interest. Unless of course you like listening to the whining of the wealthy classes....more info
- Waiting for DVD, others miss details
This film touched poignantly on a subculture that has to look hard for the validating reflections of self that others so easily find watching Married with Children, or Everyone Loves Raymond. Some of other reviewers missed key points though; Tom was not a member of the middle class looking in. He was a far more tragic character - that of an upper class on the edge of descending downward. His father was "U", but upon the divorce his mother descended to "non-U". So he walked the path of privileged upbringing but limited adult means - accepted by his U friends, but never truly being able to compete financially. As for this lifestyle being obsolete or non-existent? Obsolete perhaps. WASPs are no longer the sole heirs to America's fortunes. But just because you haven't recently been invited to a Cotillion doesn't mean that they aren't going on all the same....more info
- GRACEFUL AND ELEGANT y A MINOR CLASSIC
In this age of gross-out teen flicks and slasher movies, 'Metropolitan' make be the most shocking film of all. A group of young people talk rather than curse, flirt and banter instead of bonking like crazed rabbits in a Viagra test programme, & live in a world where romance could just depend on your attitude toward Jane Austen. The script is rich and subtle, well-delivered by a cast of unknowns, manage to convey the deep insecurity beneath a superficial sophistication. The understated style and low-budget production values won't appeal to devotees of Scorsese/Oliver Stone-style flash. But don't write director Whit Stillman off as a "preppie Woody Allen". 'Metropolitan' - along with Barcelona' and 'The Last Days of Disco' - is more than the work of a Woody wannabe....more info
- The Last Deb Season as We Knew It
Between the lost decade of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the aftermath of the sexual and social revolution of '68, before street drugs, grundge, and now broker metrosexuals, there was once a different kind of decadence, when youth of parental privilege liberally spent their parents' fortunes but somehow still talked with genuine interest about ideas, all the while facing a dimly growing fear of failure and of falling upon leaving paradise at Princeton. This subtly satirical reminiscence of preppy life is practically peerless, perfectly fusing screenplay, acting, and cinematography. It takes place during the early 1960s on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, among young twenty-somethings who prepped at the best schools and now are Ivy Leaguers or Seven Sisters students, shortly before coeducation and the pill sexualized cloistered college life. Like Martin Scorsese's allegorical concert film "The Last Waltz" (1976), "Metropolitan" is ostensibly about another finale: "the last deb season as we know it". It is also a larger period piece of wit, wonder, and even nostalgia for an era long gone. And as a sexagenarian who once witnessed that life first-hand, I can say with some authority that its tone is perfect....more info
- Preppy Luft
See preppies! See preppies drink! See preppies exchange imaginary dialogue! Really! If you've ever had an imaginary conversation with a mental projection of a real person...
Everything in this movie is subdued... even the light, the plot, and the fistfights. Emotions are shamelessly revealed under the veneer of civility and the promise of consensual friendship. That the characters are well-to-do (including the slightly less well-to-do sort-of protagonist) either makes the whole ordeal irrelevant, or maybe it just gets rid of the discomforting baggage of poverty and survival so that all of our attention can focus on what really matters: Tux Rental vs. Secondhand Tux.
The big deal is the protagonist's emotional epiphany that sort of takes place at some point during the movie. The REAL substance of the movie is the humor of humorous UHB ("urban haute bourgeoisie") semi-caricatures talk at each other in various upper east side apartments (there's also something of an absurd rescue mission at the end).
It's nice to watch movies that don't come buttoned down and serious with socialpolitiking and emotional relevance. Nothing HAS to happen, it just DOES, so... whatever......more info
- a look at high class society
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
Metropolitan is about some people living in New York City who attend debutante parties and other parties. One of them is of the middle class and shows his attempts to fit in.
The film has some humor in it and has some nice scenes of New York City.
The DVD has optional audio commentary by the film's director, Whit Stillman, editor Christopher Tellefsen, and actors Chris Eigeman and Taylor Nichols. Also included are outtakes with optional audio commentary, and scenes with alternate actors with optional commentary....more info
- What's the point?
While an interesting genre exercise, plot got lost somewhere between weird concept, casting and stilted dialogue. Not sure how 'realistic' this is. It's set in the mid-70s, based on the cars, not the early '60s, as some have incorrectly posited. At least it's short....more info
- 1 hour and 40 minutes of fluff
I've seen two-third of director Whit Stillman's trilogy that started with "Metropolitan"; the others are "Last Days of Disco" and "Barcelona". Hailed in their day as comic-ironic films about young adults growing up in Manhattan and experiencing all life's adventures, this movie now (nearly a decade after departure of the optimistic 1990s) seems less original, more talky, and more like an hour and 40 minutes of froth than great filmmaking.
Part of this opinion is personal. The "life" portrayed by these talky upper crust young intellectual snobs and debutantes in Manhattan that discuss socialism, sex, hypocrisy, Jane Austen and attire is about as far removed from my Midwetern stoicism as can be. It's difficult to identify in any meaningful way with a bunch of Manhattan 20-somethings that spend the entirety of their lives attending white tie parties, slumber parties, leg waxings, beach parties, etc. Some of these people talk about work but none appears to do any. Is this the fantasy of the average 25-year-old in Manhattan -- spend all day with a bunch of like-minded people at dinner parties?
An element of this film had a certain allure to behavior more akin to the 1950s than 1990s. In one scene, a character criticized another for wearing a rain coat instead of a top coat. All the others wore top coats. This was a scene straight out of "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit", whose book author once said his role in life was, "To hold my man's hat," meaning he spent his life following his boss around like a dog, acting as his servant.
There was much in this film that reminded me of such 1950s conformism. These facile beautiful creatures -- the same ones I saw in "Last Days of Disco" -- hardly had an original idea among them. They seemed content in their anguished lives to see who could be the most like everyone else, a very un1990s idea.
As I said, this is the kind of movie completely at odds with my own stoicism developed from living in the middle of the country with its no nonsense, hardworking lifestyle. I pity anyone that aspires to live vicariously through the actors and situations presented in this film.
Yet there was one part that delighted me to no end. The score, which features classical, jazz and popular music arrangements, included a string quartet version of Smetana's "The Moldau", a tune about a river in the Czech Republic. I was so taken by this little tune I spent 15 minutes humming the thing so I could figure out where it came from! I wish there'd been something else about this movie I could enjoy for 15 minutes....more info
- Not a holiday season goes by without seeing this!
This movie is one of my most treasured in my collection. I always view it once durring the holiday season, as this is when the movie is set. This is Whit's masterpiece, although Barcelona is almost up to Metropolitan's standard. I like the fact that these are all unknown actors, as it tends to make the characters more true to life. The dialogue is pefect for the setting and subject, and unlike another reviewer stated, you do not have to be a member of high society to enjoy this film. This movie and Barcelona desrve to be on DVD!...more info
- I would have enjoyed Chris Eigeman and the dresses more if
I wasn't transfixed by the precise signals of Tom's lack of interest in Audrey and his overappreciation of the borderline beautiful but definitely glamourous Serena. "Is 21 an expensive restaurant?" because it would have to be to be worthy of Serena. I paused on the channel because I thought Audrey was Charlotte Gainsbourg. Cynthis Farina is so cute and I basically watched the entire movie to enjoy her. I really didn't pay attention to Chris Eigeman who was probably hilariously terrible and the old Carolina Herrera party dresses which were also. This is a movie that I should have watched when it came out because I think it had an effect on people who watched it especially if they were the same age as the characters and I would have recognized it....more info
- Top Hat Man
The heroine of Stillman's micro-peek, Manhattan preppies, she enjoys Jane Austin. Therefore, it is fitting that musings about relationships are mostly in stodgy wasp fantasy, harking to the 19th Century. In addition, these boys and gals have a bowtie existence, a sub strata concept that has worked for a long time. The more experimental might have a fling with a Long Island count or a Jew record executive, but discretion please. When they marry, well, within their bridge circle I'm sure.
If I give the impression that outsiders, just about everybody, wouldn't enjoy the Vassar quasi-intellectualism of youth, you would be wrong, for the subject is handled with love. These kids are sensitive, cocktail in gloved hand, their parent's divorce, impossible expectations, the looming failure discourse of the boys, all to be handled sometime in the future with aplomb. Don't ask an older prep what he does. It's unbearable to discuss their lowly profession.
Stillman is a true genius, projecting the character of brilliant, tortured wit, Nick, (Christopher Elgman), a cynic with cutting observation, and possibly he is often right. The boy wears a top hat like most wear a baseball cap. Stillman is creating something from what he knows, a series of debutant parties and interrelationships, amusing attitudes, these birds are rare exotics. ...more info
- Your background doesn't matter, it is an excellent movie...
It doesn't matter if you are not an American, you will recognize the people and the environment inmediately, as they are the same all over the world. A great movie, unlike Last Days of Disco, which showed a darker aspect of UHB life....more info
- Stillman's masterpiece.............
I cannot add a great deal to the generous praise justly lavished on this splendid film by previous reviews. I am a virgin cinema critic but am driven to write a review of 'Metropolitan' as this is one of the few films I have watched over and over again and continue to marvel at. I first saw 'Last Days of Disco' and took an instant liking to Stillman's unique blend of young, witty and attractive characters and his depiction of 'preppy' reflections and relationships amidst the musical and visual backdrop of 'The Club.'
On the basis of the director's name I bought Metropolitan and would argue that this film is a masterpiece on an altogther higher level to the stylish and accomplished 'Last Days'. In my opinion Metropolitan ranks equally alongside other celebrated films such as 'Manhattan' by Woody Allen, and, in its incredible attention to dialogue, characterization and depiction of a social milieu, to Martin Scorcese's 'Goodfellas'. Chris Eigeman as the snobbish but endearing Nick Smith deserves special mention.
I thoroughly recomend this outstanding film to anyone with an interest in social satire, comedy, and cinema in general and I shall endeavour to track down Stillman's second film Barcelona. My younger brother intends to pursue a career as a cinema director and I shall suggest to him he looks for inspiration to Whit Stillman as much as his current role model, Martin Scorcese. Both are masters of their art....more info
- Where's the DVD?
I have been waiting for this film on DVD for years. This is an incredible film with some great dialog. Chris Eigeman is incredible as a sarcastic, egomaniac snob. This is Whit Stillmans first film. Be sure to check out Barcelona and Last Days of Disco.
This film is very dialog driven. Most of it is spent with a group of friends discusing just about everything they have learned in college and being snobs, but it's incredible fun. This is a small budget film with a group of talented actors and a great script. This is not a standard Hollywood movie, but it is a great break from them....more info
- METROPOLITAN is in my TOP 5 list
Can't watch this movie with too many people in the room. You have to LISTEN while you watch every, little portion of the film! I am sure that this is where producers found Christopher Eigeman for their commercials. He is a subtle smart-ass that doesn't seem to offend his friends.
The writing is done so well that you can't tell what year the film is placed in. Timeless I guess.
This is the first movie that made me turn the box over, note who the director is, and then go to get all the movies that he has directed. Unfortunately Whit Stillman has only done 3 so far. Our loss...more info
- A very natural, very enlightening climb up the social ladder...
Whit Stillman's film `Metropolitan' comes off like a wicked mix of Woody Allen and Robert Altman, making art out of general conversation and allowing us, the audience, to relate wholly to the situation by keeping everything grounded and within our grasp. Nothing happens within this film that could not or would not happen in reality, and that makes the concept and the end result all the more interesting. There are times where the film seems to be about nothing at all, which may be what makes the film so endearing. We become fascinated with the general conversation of these individuals, the whole time wondering what it is all really about, and then it hits us that the film is an exploration of youth in general and it's through these conversations that we get to dissect their lives.
So the film focuses on a group of upper-class socialites who find their clique infiltrated by the middle-class Tom. Tom is admittedly turned off by the needless parties these socialites entertain, and thus he immediately becomes entertaining to the higher-class preppies who find his viewpoints on their engagements fascinating. As the two worlds come together through interaction they realize that they are not so different after all. They know the same people, they read the same books; in fact it is only a social title that differentiates one from the other.
The film sheds light on the attitudes that propel these young adults through their lives as we see subtle yet powerful messages sent between parties. As young Audrey expresses her desire to court the outsider Tom we get to see just how the line between class distinctions does not mean there is a line between class in general.
The script may very well be my favorite script of 1990, maybe even the 90's in general (although that is probably pushing it a bit). It is smart and witty and insightful if one is really paying attention, and the cast of characters is truly diverse and interesting.
Each and every actor here really does a fine job of elevating the script, especially Christopher Eigeman who plays the devilishly sincere Nick Smith. His portrayal of your typical preppie is so deep-seated and authentic that he makes you feel as though you are standing right next to him, having each scene feel as though it was cut from your own reality. His charisma and charm are undeniable and his delivery is smooth as butter. Carolyn Farina is also wonderful as the tragically underappreciated Audrey, and Edward Clements soars as the outsider Tom. His watchful eye is felt throughout every frame as he takes in his acquaintances and silently judges them, never once looking at himself to see how he should be judged.
If you are a fan of Altman or Allen then this is a film for you, for it is just as witty, just as conversational and just as natural as either of the aforementioned director's bodies of work. The film may not appeal to everyone; well, it will not appeal to everyone. If you are wanting a briskly paced drama or a high octane thriller then you are looking in the wrong place, but if you are wanting a well developed and smart character study that will hold your attention despite its lack of real drama then this is the perfect film for you. ...more info
- Stillman is our Bergman
Metropolitan, the first of Stillman's trilogy of the lost aristocracy, is a fine example of the classical comedy. This is a very dense film, and much more than merely a comedy of manners (yet one says the same for Austen), but rather an exploration of the new lost generation: the children of the baby-boomers. In addition, these children form what would have been the aristocracy, yet in post-WWII America (or perhaps even post-civil war America, depending on your understanding of national history) the Aristocracy's place has disapeered. Not that Stillman is critiquing the Aristocracy itself, as one reviewer insinuated--far from it--Stillman is no egalitarian, and no doubt appreciates the role of class. Yet much like Descartes' example of the man with an amputated limb, who still feels sensation in that limb, these urban elites of New York are clumsily trying to fit into a mold that is antithetical to spirit of their culture. This is especially developed later in Last Days of Disco, as these Ivy-league grads who learned hard capitalism and aggresive business theory, still try to settle into their aristocratic positions allthewhile employing the economic principles they learned at college.
In this analysis of a young aristocracy without a tradition (which Stillman understands indeed in the Burkean sense), these youths spend the holidays going to dances and hanging out afterwords at each others apartments.
I don't want to offer simply a Cliff's notes to Stillman, so I won't let out all the insights that Stillman offers, while demanding much from the viewer in order to understand them. There's the enjoyment. Just pay attention to religious symbolism; that's huge for Stillman. (Ex. there is a moment in the film when one of the character's is leaving on a train, and a hymn by Luther is playing in the background) If you want some more hints, Nationalreview.com had an interview with him a while back you can probably still get, and Intercollegiate Review had a whole journel dedicated to his works a year or so ago.
Stillman is by far the greatest director around today--his cultural commentary has the weight of a Proust or Claudel--don't miss it....more info
- Get the Criterion Collection Print
Any true gemstone has flaws and inclusions that confirms its origins in nature. And so it is with Whit Stillman's masterpiece Metropolitan.
In a passage of cultural reflection, one of the characters uses strained dialogue to identify themselves as a dying tribe of "urban haute bourgeoisie." It was pretty obvious Stillman was trying not to use the term "preppy," and for several good reasons. Among them were that Lisa Birnbach's book had debased the coinage and copper-plated poseurs abounded. In addition, he was also drawing attention to the arrival of international class (a reveres of Henry James?) youngsters gambolling in the canyons of Manhattan (no, the term "Euro-Trash also would not do...especially for young countesses who went to Convent school). He also could not use the term NOKD (not-our-kind-dear) or it would go over the heads of the audience. Ditto "Sloane Ranger."
Another hilarious passage is the description of organic and inorganic deb balls, and those that required escorts from one of the United States service academies. The irony of the excluded insiders of the inorganic deb ball watching the event on television is Stillman's hilarious allusion to the death knell of the form, intention, and social expression at the roots of the event, and carried on the leitmotif of the televised broadcast of Diana Spencer and the Prince of Wales wedding.
The other general flaw is the arch, stilted dialogue. People write like this, but I don't think they really talk like this, no matter how rarefied their education. Which makes watching this movie like reading a book.
But a gem of a book, with excellent illustrations.
- J.N.W....more info
- Thank you Whit Stillman!
Seeing this film is a great opportunity to really get a sense of how the other 2% live. Unlike your usual Hollywood nonsense, this movie gives us the perspective of the well-educated and wealthy prep schooler. This movie is very intelligent and insightful. I highly recommend it to anyone who like would a fresh new and I think probably very accurate view of the young upper classers....more info
You have to admire a man who sells his apartment and borrows from friends to finance his first film. But as much as I respect Whit Stillman for the efforts he went through to write and direct Metropolitan, I'm afraid I was utterly bored by his movie. The screenplay is not particularly good, the acting is stilted and unimpressive across the board, and I didn't give a damn about any of the characters. ...more info
- coming of age for Manhattan upper middles
I got an urge to get Mansfield Park about half way through this
film. What struck me was hearing a clearly snobbish upper middle girl saying she didn't like snobs: that kind of thing makes it a comedy.
The two guys who become friends at the end because they share
a love for the same really nice girl is touching and funny.
A manners comedy set in a relatively modern 70's or 80's
Manhattan among college students that shows that the more things change, the more they remain the same?...more info
- Mating Calls Of The Pseudo-Intellectual Elite--An Urbane Riff On America's "Aristocracy"
"Metropolitan" is a sophisticated comedy of manners set in one wintry debutante season. It's unlikely protagonists are a bunch of over-privileged, over-educated, blissfully unaware young adults. They exist in a world between college and adulthood, where time is a luxury and living is defined by the company you keep. There isn't a productive person in the film. Every night is to be spent in highbrow circles--dining out, drinking to excess, debating philosophy and literature, simply existing in a different plane from every one else. Their social status sets them apart and their critique on the modern social order is elitist and ridiculously self indulgent.
I suppose if this sounds like a turnoff to you--you may not care for this film. These people are not easy to embrace and like, much less identify with. The film's main character is an interloper to these proceedings. He has great disdain for this upper-crust society based solely on the fact that he doesn't live within it. Yet, he's better suited to fit in than he might imagine--for all his real world observations are equally shallow. His thoughts on literature, for example, are based on critical essays--not having read anything or experiencing real feeling or belief. His intellectual stances and objections are a novelty to the group, and he quickly becomes absorbed into its structure. He doesn't understand, however, the superficial nature of the world he's entered--where a season ends and your "friends" move on.
What ultimately sets "Metropolitan" apart is it's screenplay. Fast and smart, literate and infuriating--you can marvel at seeing young people speak of important matters while being frustrated by their naivete. The film lets you know the superficial exterior of it's characters in depth, but also exposes moments of real insecurity. You know, ultimately, this is a game being played to deny coming adulthood and responsibility for as long as possible. There is lots of wry humor and insight into a world not many of us experience--and that is, at least, a different vantage point.
I enjoyed "Metropolitan." I thought Chris Eigeman, in particular, gave a monumentally funny performance. He is, at once, the group's most annoying know-it-all and it's most socially astute member. This film won't be for everyone. But if you've ever been around people that imagine themselves to be intellectuals (I was president of such a club--just kidding), this is an observantly funny film. KGHarris, 10/06....more info
- A Graceful, Literate Film, Needing More (Melo)drama
I don't think I had seen "Metropolitan" all the way through since its opening in 1990. As I was about the same age then as the characters portrayed in this film (though not from the same background), and had recently lived in NYC, the poignancy of seeing scenes from what NYC once looked like - circa late '80's, early '90's - will only add to your enjoyment of this graceful, beautiful jewel of a film. The lives of young preppies, and their disappearing way of life, is portrayed with wit and skill by a strong, young cast, tight direction, and a literate script. The Tom Townsend character, from "the West Side," and, hence, not truly part of the gang, and his romance with Audrey, sensitively played by Carolyn Farina, forms the spine of the story. And here is my only true quibble with this wonderful film: the love story is left rather unrealized and director Stillman backs away from the romance too much, I think, in order to be "ironic" and "trendy" - and yet, even Audrey says, "life is melodramatic," when you follow it all the way through. The story really needed - and deserved - a better resolution. Also, the GREAT piano score, and swift, sharp as a knife editing, that is there for almost 2/3 thirds of the film, seems to disappear as the film goes on, inexplicably, as it sets such a wonderful mood. The overall score is great, but I felt that piano score, and the bittersweet scenes between Tom and Audrey that are so well done, should have formed a greater part of the resolution. Still, with that said, this film is worth seeing - and owning. The Criterion Collections, I feel, are not as good as they should be - I wanted more extras, a real documentary, even a brief one, on the making of the film - but the transfer is FIRST CLASS - the movie looks absolutely beautiful. You wonder what happened to these young actors. You also might wonder what happened to Stillman, as the film heralded a career that seemed on its way to examining modern life in ways both witty and profound. Still, NYC on Christmas, even a brief scene of Christmas mass, a beautiful score, good actors, wonderful direction, and a way of life both subtle and graceful (and, I think, far more sexy too), "Metropolitan" deserves its ranking as one of the most influential independent films - and, despite its flaws, it's just about perfect....more info
- All that's missing is Noel Coward.
This movie glistens like a piece of old Belleek. Whether in the subtle gold of an off the shoulder evening gown, or in the vast expanse of a deep, plush, ivory colored carpet, nearly every frame shimmers with champagne like iridescence.
And gold is an apt visual metaphor, particularly when juxtaposed against the black satin of a tuxedo lapel or the wintry Manhattan night scape, for a world seemingly vanishing right before our eyes--a world too sleek, too soign¨¦, too genteel to survive the steam roller of galloping blue-jeaned egalitarianism.
That the denizens of this vanishing breed, as depicted in the film, are themselves, insecure late adolescents, make its departure all the more poignant.
"This is probably the last Deb season..." one of them observes resignedly, "...because of the stock market, the economy, Everything..." Yes, everything...the huge smothering subject that hovers all around the plot itself and from which its characters are only temporarily insulated.
In particular, the focus here is on a group of privileged Eastern Seaboard collegians enjoying the Christmas holidays in a series of Park Avenue, "after dance parties," in which they loll about and ruefully anticipate the disappearance of their youth, their success, and their kind.
That they are one at the same time cerebral, immature, literate, prankish, frightened, polished, well educated but vulnerable and inexperienced, puts them well outside the troglodyte teens that inhabit the deconstructionist zoo in most post 1970 films, (with the exception of a unfortunate and mis-placed "strip poker" sequence which violates the picture's otherwise overall mood.)
Indeed, they seem to exist outside their own time, belonging rather to that group Cecil Beaton dubbed "the smart young things" from the 1920's, in his "The Glass of Fashion." Certainly, one imagines them far more comfortable with Ivor Novello than Mick Jagger. And like many "smart sets" they seem rather a closed corporation.
Until that is, into their number unexpectedly arrives a young man of reduced circumstances, Tom Townsend, (Edward Clements) who by virtue of his sincerity and intelligence, is invited to "sup at their table--on a borrowed pass" so to speak. His romantic misadventures with the beguiling Audrey Rouget(Carolyn Farina)forms the cynosure of the charmingly fragile plot.
Audrey and Tom stand out from the pack, in their earnestess and integrity, though it is assuredly Nick, (Christopher Eigeman) their figurehead and chief quip master who is the groups' un-elected leader. As interpreted by Mr. Eigeman, Nick is the embodiment of the cocktail fueled, cigarette wielding bon vivant--trenchant, self absorbed, far from virtuous, and with a ready verbal arrow that never misses its target. He is George Sander's heir presumptive.
Nick's observations are worth the whole price of admission as they say, whether it be bemoaning the Protestant Reformation, the social climbing Surrealists, or the scarcity of detachable collars.
Since the film's short, bouffant,cocktail dresses and automobiles unmistakably place the film in very late modernity--the Reagan era in fact, and long after the Ray Anthony's Orchestra, top hatted milieu it depicts, we cannot fail to miss the film's core observation--the parallel evanescence of the groups' own social connections, as placed against the simultaneous collapse of civilized life as we once knew it.
As the Christmas season ends, so do the nightly gatherings, and each character is forced to come to terms with impermanence--their own and everything else's. In a melancholy bar scene, an older man warns the youngsters of disappointment ahead, "I'm not destitute but...it's all so mediocre."
That Producer/Director Whit Stillman manages to fuse the personal with the sociological in such and intriguing and entrancing way is a testament to the penetration of his vision.
And, lest we miss the point, he includes a cunning shot of a significant book left on bedside table--none other than Spengler's "Decline of the West."
The Last Days of Disco has been my very favorite movie ever since I saw it in the theatre years ago but Metropolitan has moved up to number one. I love this movie! I could watch Chris Eigeman all day long. His performance is wonderful. It makes me want to wear pearl earrings and read Mansfield Park! ...more info
- A rare gem
I can't add much to the outstanding reviews already written here. This is a brillant film, with a deft comic touch and all of the trademark Stillman dialogue. I love it. I wonder though, where in the world is the DVD?...more info
- Both innocent and knowing, sweet and elegiac
A Manhattan Mansfield Park: a perfect societal portrait, with not a detail out of place....more info
- vintage 1980s
Am giving thought to using excerpts from Metropolitan in teaching a class on the 20th century in American culture. What a striking contrast--conservative, properly attired 18 year olds against the groovy jeans, leather jackets, and flower power garb of the 1960s and 1970s! Today's students may wonder-- Just how far did the conservative backswing of the social pendulum travel once Reagan and Republican ideas gave it a shove? Pretty far, by the looks of this upstart, independent film production. And what better a way to also show the genesis of that genre of films in a time when the big studio houses held so much sway over what was produced, who starred in it and how it was edited....more info