‘Damsels in Distress’ walked so Barbie could soar

Under the deft hand of acclaimed director Whit Stillman, “Damsels in Distress” takes a fresh and invigorating look at the familiar setting of college life. This film, scripted by Stillman himself, takes viewers on a whimsical journey into a world of young women filled with sharp dialogue, eccentric charm, and insightful character studies.

A Masterclass in Direction and Scripting

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Stillman’s command over the film’s narrative structure and his knack for incisive, witty dialogues breathe life into the story. The director-screenwriter’s distinctive storytelling approach stands out, giving a unique flavor to the narrative. His characters speak in paragraphs, not sentences, allowing him to create rich, thoughtful exchanges that are as stimulating as they are humorous.

Cinematic Artistry

Adding to the film’s artistic charm is the masterful cinematography of Doug Emmett. Emmett’s visual storytelling shines through, accentuating the narrative with a style that’s both elegant and playful. His camera gives life to the college environment, creating an almost ethereal backdrop to the character’s adventures.

An Ensemble of Quirky Characters

The film’s ensemble cast, featuring Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Carrie MacLemore, delivers an outstanding performance. Gerwig leads the pack with her portrayal of the eccentric yet charming Violet Wister. She embodies the character’s idiosyncrasies with such finesse that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

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Tipton’s portrayal of Lily, the newcomer trying to navigate the confusing waters of the college social scene, is both genuine and relatable. Echikunwoke and MacLemore, as Rose and Heather, add a layer of complexity to the story, offering a counterpoint to Gerwig’s Violet with their distinct personalities and unique perspectives.

A Film that Delivers on All Fronts

“Damsels in Distress” is a testament to Whit Stillman’s ability to create a film that’s thought-provoking and entertaining, all while showcasing the depth of its characters. The film’s ensemble cast, guided by Stillman’s script and direction, and Emmett’s cinematography, come together to create a piece that’s both visually appealing and intellectually stimulating. It’s an example of what happens when every element in filmmaking comes together harmoniously, creating a final product that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

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