Metropolitan (1990) **** Locarno Film Festival 2020

August 10th, 2020
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Whit Stilman | US Drama 98′

Whit Stilman’s first stab at social satire feels very dated to the modern gaze, yet thirty years ago it much have been ground-breaking with its acerbic insightfulness and lowkey wit the American director making some valid points about class; the workplace and feminism in a preppie Manhattan of the at turn of the 1990s that are still hold true today and Metropolitan set the tone for his brilliant career as a comedy satirist that still continues today with his finely-tooled scriptwriting.

Cinematically uninviting this modern day take on F Scott Fitzgerald takes place in upmarket apartments belonging to a coterie of upper class Manhattanites (the “urban haute bourgeoisie” party circuit).. And it was a masterly debut -convincingly characterised, well-paced and gracefully performed by a cast of new-comers who manage a mannered style with aplomb. He has honed his talent for wit and repartee in the films he has made subsequently: Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress and (particularly) Love & Friendship so let’s hope his upcoming outing Dancing Mood continues the trend.

Metropolitan revolves around timid debutante Audrey (Carolyn Farina) and her love interest falls Tom Townsend (Edward Clements) – who isn’t quite up to her social standing – although she falls for him and their romance provides the dramatic heft of what is essentially a polite chamber piece and won Stilman the Silver Leopard at LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL 1990. MT

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