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Whit Stillman returns with Damsels in Distress 

AFF Day 9

Another movie, another embargoed review. Sigh. So, I'll try not to say too much about Damsels in Distress, the first new movie by American indie director Whit Stillman since The Last Days of Disco in 1998. I can tell you it stars Greta Gerwig as the alpha female Violet in a group of very entitled young women attending a northeastern university who invite a new member (Analeigh Tipton, the babysitter from Crazy, Stupid, Love) into their little clique. They very kindly run a suicide prevention group on campus, since their school is the kind of place where students are throwing themselves into the road, darling. A lot of thick, thick boys show up and complicate things for the new friends. The plot also investigates fake accents, adults who can't identify colours and a religion that worships on Tuesday and is only interested in anal sex. The mannered, close and self-conscious humour of Stillman's previous work is very much in evidence here, which will please those who have waited so patiently the 13 years for a follow-up film. (Though I found it so slight I'd forgotten how it started by the time the final credits rolled.)
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Vol 26, No 25
November 15, 2018

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