11 May 2012


"Damsels in Distress" directed by Whit Stillman (2011) is a very odd film. It has had some encouraging reviews so that's why I ordered a copy and watched it last night on the big screen in the social club. Katherine was washing her hair.

It's set in an imagined Ivy League college called Seven Oaks and focuses on the activities and polite conversations of four female students whose mission seems to be to prevent campus suicides and civilise the boorish male population. They are never seen engaging in academic studies.

It has a very light touch with apparently no serious intent whatsoever and as I watched it, not a single chuckle was ignited, not a titter or even  a grin. In that respect it reminded me of the truly awful BBC TV sitcom "My Family".Yet another tale of a privileged elite.

I just wasn't interested in the unremarkable characters who populated the film, communicating in the comfortable East Coast tones of wealthy WASP families. A couple of black characters were thrown into the mix for the sake of political correctness - like so many British TV commercials.

In the end I didn't really care what Lily, Violet, Rose and Heather got up to or how they impacted on the caricatures of young men that surrounded them. It had a grinding self-indulgent slowness to it and though of the modern age, the film contained no motor vehicles, mobile phones or computers. Reference to modern day living was rather incidental and actually for me that was almost the only creative crumb of salvation I found in this forgettable movie. In addition, I would say that the "look" of the film is appealing - from costumes to the appearance of rooms - it's well-presented and beautifully edited.

The Daily Telegraph reviewer said that the film has a "deliciously subdued humour that creeps up on you" but I just thought there are so many more interesting stories to tell. Why did Stillman choose to tell this particular story? And aren't comedies supposed to make people laugh? Out of ten I'd give "Damsels in Distress" a generous four.


  1. Never heard of this one but 'My family'? oh my goodness I am so glad I am not the only person who cannot see the appeal of that drivel...and it is ALWAYS on!

  2. sounds rather "flimsy" - I am desperately trying to remember where and who the review I saw/heard was from.... I seem to think it was summed up as "sex in the city" meets "porky's" and if ever there were two reasons to avoid a movie... need I say more? As for "my family" - can't watch, won't watch!

  3. LIBBY & FOXY Perhaps we should start an e-petition to have "My Family" resigned to the TV scrapheap along with "Muffin the Mule" and "The Golden Shot" which were both infinitely more entertaining.

  4. Never heard of this movie or My Family. If I do I'll steer clear of them.

  5. And you accuse me of choosing naff film!

  6. I hated ANNE ASTON!..............................................................

  7. SHOOTING P Yes I do.
    EARL GRAY I agree "Anne Aston" was not one of Whit Stillman's better films.

  8. I'm glad I was washing my hair...
    Look how lovely a glossy it is (swishes hair for the camera) do you think I should straighten the ends a bit more I really like my hair maybe the colour could be highlighted a bit more do you think oohh, I think I'll look through this magazine and see what the film stars are doing with their hair oh oh oh I just gave myself a really nasty paper-cut!

  9. KATHERINE Now you sound like a "damsel in distress"! If you need any assistance with spiders or mice just call Knights of Blogland.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits