Monday, October 15, 2012

Movie of the Week – Metropolitan

This week’s movie is Metropolitan (1990).

The comedy is about Tom Townsend, an outsider, who is welcomed into a group of upper-class Manhattanites getting together during the gala debutante season. Tom feels both opposed and intrigued by the lifestyle to which this group adheres, and is drawn in. It is the first of writer-director Whit Stillman’s three comedies of manners (sometimes called the Yuppie Trilogy) with Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco. It is also his first feature (and my favorite of the trilogy). Shot very sparsely, Stillman worked with cinematographer John Thomas, composers Tom Judson and Mark Suozzo and a wonderful cast of unknowns including: Carolyn Farina, Chris Eigeman, Taylor Nichols, and Edward Clements (who is great in the film, but has yet to ever make another film). I had not seen this until recently, and thus have seen tons of films that have been influenced by this prior, but watching it for the first time it reminded me very much of Woody Allen’s work and Mary Harron’s American Psycho (in the study of and language of the haute bourgeoisie of Manhattan in the late 1980s). Metropolitan is very funny, but there are no moments of slapstick, pratfalls or intended jokes, rather the comedy comes from Stillman’s very pointed jab on the sheer frivolousness (at least from the perspective those outside looking in) of the characters, and yet they are compelling as well. It is one of the best debut films of the 1990s and well worth checking out for fans of dialog driven intellectual comedies. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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