Damsels In Distress (2011, Whit Stillman)

The structure is bizarre, and scenes suddenly fade out. If that means there’s a longer cut somewhere, bring it on, because I could live inside this movie for another hour or two. Four girls with flowery names solve all problems on their college campus – smelly fraternities, suicide threats, the lack of a dance craze for their generation, and so on.

Flower girls: fearless/fragile leader Greta Gerwig (between House of the Devil and Frances Ha), logical Megalyn Echikunwoke (new The Omen TV series), Carrie MacLemore (Stillman’s TV pilot The Cosmopolitans), and new girl Analeigh Tipton (Warm Bodies).

L-R (I think): Tipton, the suicidal girl who steals Gerwig’s boyfriend, Echikunwoke, MacLemore, Gerwig

Noel Murray:

Whatever mode he’s working in, few filmmakers have ever been as attuned to the way we cheerfully lie to ourselves, right up to the point where the truth is exposed, and we’re left with a choice between breaking down or soldiering on. Or, as so often happens in Stillman’s films, both.

Dana Stevens on the ending:

In Shakespearean-comedy fashion, the various couples partner up and skip through the wooded Seven Oaks campus, dancing and singing to the Gershwin brothers’ song “Things Are Looking Up,” (which was first performed by Fred Astaire in a 1937 musical called A Damsel in Distress).


I like the idea of bringing period into a present-day film. It’s period as a way of solving our problems. The things that worked in the past have been tested a little bit, while the solutions to the future have not been tested. We know that people taking showers is going to have good results. Up to a point.