After a hiatus of over a decade, Whit Stillman (the quirky director behind
The Last Days of Disco) is back with
Damsels in Distress. Though it opens today in theatres, I had the chance to catch it when it screened last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival – and it was one of the highlights. While the small college setting might not be revolutionary, Stillman’s characters are so amazingly odd: formal, well dressed, neurotic. Greta Gerwig (and let it be known that I love her) plays the girl-posse leader Violet, who wants to add a level of sophistication to Seven Oaks University, which Stillman described as “a formerly male bastion where decades after coeducation an atmosphere of male barbarism still prevails.” Her tactics?
Dating losers,
smelling good, dressing up, using proper English grammar and starting a dance craze. How can anyone argue with that logic? Since it’s a story about fumbling your way through college, it seems fitting to share the crib notes of what I learned from
Damsels in Distress: I looked like a slob in school, apparently.
Sure, I would fancy up for the big weekend nights (and weekday nights too, to be honest. I probably went out too much in… Live fast, die young etc…) but
a scarf or an adorable nip-wasted pastel frock to class? Never. Violet spends a good deal of the movie trying to convince freshman Lily (Analeigh Tipton who you might remember from
Crazy, Stupid Love and as a runner up on
America’s Top Model) to ditch the jeans. And you know what? She’s right. I’m quite sure it would be impossible to satisfy her totally-strangle-but-amazing goal of starting an international dance craze in
jeans. That would just be uncouth. OVER TO YOU: Did you dress up for class? Also, I loved the idea of starting a dance craze. What would you call yours?