07 May 2012

Must we tether ourselves from comment because we ourselves are human too?

I counted at least 4 couples who walked out of Damsels in Distress on Saturday night. One couple wanted to leave so badly that they even jumped the railing to make an hasty exit. There is a connection in here somewhere to the kids in the film attempting suicide by jumping the two stories from the education building. If they can't even get that right, how are they going to teach our kids?

But seriously, the last movie to make me feel as good as Damsels in Distress was probably Rohmer's Le Rayon Vert. They both end on happy and sneakily emotional notes. And now that - thanks to John and Glenn Kenny - I have the Rohmer/Stillman comparison in my head, I can't shake it. Like Rohmer films, I find Damsels difficult to write about. How do I capture all that the movie did in terms of dialogue, feeling, and emotion? 

So, just a few words until everyone else writes about it. And for those who haven't seen it, I'd happily consider another viewing. 

Damsels is original, funny, whimsical, and sweet. I was pleasantly surprised by every little turn the film took. It builds on charm until the ending song and dance numbers explode with triumph and emotion. 

What I find so refreshing and unexpected is just how strong an emotional punch this film contains. The characters are all a bit absurd and the dialogue is fast, smart, and funny. The entire cast is excellent, but I can't say enough about Gerwig. She delivers her performance with a deadpan but earnest hilarity. 

Damsels in Distress is an optimistic film about the normalcy of craziness. The comedic tone is beautifully understated - though several moments are laugh out loud funny - and the characters and story resonate long after the film is over. 

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