Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Damsels In Distress, the first film from writer-director Whit Stillman in well over a decade, is its unassuming lightness. Any expectations of grand statements, mostly fermented in the gap between this and 1998’s The Last Days Of Disco, are dissipated almost immediately by a buoyant pep.
This is in no small part due to the film’s star, indie darling Greta Gerwig. For years the poster child of ‘mumblecore’ flicks by the likes of Joe Swanberg and the Duplass brothers, Gerwig’s unconventional charm recently propped up No Strings Attached and graced Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg. Here, she is Violet, lead moppet in a clutch of florally-named students, whose altruistic tendencies lead them to run their leafy East Coast college’s Suicide Prevention Centre. Their preferred methods? Doughnuts and dancing.
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