Damsels in Distress

[2.5 stars]

Damsels is full of the dry, pseudo-intellectual humor you’d expect from a Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship) movie. However, I honestly don’t know how to describe this movie. It’s entertaining in its way, and highlights some real talent, but isn’t really a story. It is a series of wry vignettes with some fun dialogue. But it is so self-conscious and absurd , by design, that there is no reality to cling to in order to care about the characters.

And the characters are populated by quite the cast. Greta Gerwig (Little Women),  Analeigh Tipton (Golden Exits), and Megalyn Echikunwoke (Almost Family, Vixen) are the primary clique and point of view. But there is a host of people they interact with. Aubrey Plaza (Child’s Play), Billy Magnussen (Velvet Buzzsaw), and Adam Brody (Ready or Not) among others.

But without a connection to any of these you get to the end and scratch your head. It isn’t clever enough to be social satire, and it isn’t personal enough to be revelatory or in any way a commentary. So, I say again, what is it? I can’t answer. If you like Stillman’s early work, this will probably resonate with you. If you don’t, you may enjoy it as a bit of sketch comedy that is loosely bound together by themes and characters. But if you want a full movie, look elsewhere.

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