User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 32
  2. Negative: 9 out of 32

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  1. Apr 17, 2012
    Damsels in Distress is perhaps the most pretentious screenplay ever filmed. I imagine there was a more comprehensible first draft and then writer/director Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco) pulled the thesaurus off the shelf and went to work. These damsels come across more as ridiculous caricatures than actual flesh and blood characters; nobody could retain any sort of patience around people who talk nonsense the way these girls do. Lily (Analeigh Tipton) arrives as a new transfer student to Seven Oaks University. During orientation, a group of girls seemingly pick her out at random to join their group; perhaps it is because her name fits the floral naming scheme. Violet (Greta Gerwig) is the leader of the bunch followed by her one-dimensional acolytes, Heather (Carrie MacLemore) and Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke). Violet talks incessantly about the goals of the group which include finding and improving boys who are not particularly good looking or intelligent and staffing the volunteer Suicide Prevention Center. The answer as to why a somewhat normal Lily would so eagerly say yes to joining up with this gang and rooming with them is not forthcoming, but then again, there would be no film if she did not.

    Seven Oaks is not your normal university. Instead of a Greek system, they have Roman Letter Houses. So many students are depressed that they take to jumping off the roof of the education building; unfortunately it is only two stories tall so instead of killing themselves they only maim. As for suicide prevention, the route to recovery is neither mood altering pills or talk therapy, but tap dancing led by an instructor calling himself Freak Astaire (Nick Blaemire). I told you; pretentious beyond belief.

    The damsels have incredibly keen senses of smell and frequently sniff soap whenever unhygienic dorm dwellers walk by. They are also exceptionally open and frank about their feelings. Violet thanks Lily for chastising her for being hypocritical about arrogance and routinely references Lily as better looking and skinnier. This sounds duplicitous on Violetâ
  2. Apr 15, 2012
    I usually like dry, tongue-in-cheek humor. But speaking inane, humorless absurdities with a straight face doesn't make them funny. Several critics have used the word "twee" to describe the film; but "sophomoric," annoying," and "of no recognizable entertainment value" would seem more accurate descriptors to me. Miranda July is "twee"; this film was just completely disagreeable.
  3. Apr 9, 2012
    I'd put it in 4th of Stillman's four films. There are 2 or 3 absolutely hilarious/absurd moments, but they certainly don't carry the rest of the film for me. Style and verbal cadence can only take you so far without a solid narrative foundation. I eagerly anticipated this film but was sadly a touch bored by it all.
  4. Apr 14, 2012
    Completely devoid of real human beings and relatable situations. Lots of broad caricatures whose lives and relationships serve only as platform for highbrow one-liners. Clever for no reason and absent of any heart. Stillman is too busy making fun of his characters to ever allow you to empathize with them. I am shocked that critics liked this.
  5. Apr 27, 2012
    It is said that you should never hit a person when they are down and I am not sure if the same applies to a movie so I will be short. "Dasmels in Distress" will definitely be on my list of the year's worst films if not #1.

    The director doesn't direct his actors how to talk, walk or how to get a scene across. I would like to think it was a generational gap but from the first shot you want
    to slap the leading actress. Oh yes the film was written and directed by the same person and I don't think the director talked to the writer.

    It was good seeing Adam Brody on the large screen and of the rest of the cast only Megalyn Echikunwoke impressed me.

    Put this on your 'must not see' list.
  6. Jun 12, 2012
    I had really high hopes for this film, but they were all crushed. To give you a better sense of how it made me felt, I literally looked over at my aunt who went to see the film with me, and said "That was painful". I understand some people who watch this film are faithful to the writer/director Whit Stillman, but after this, I will never watch any other films of his. What I thought was going to be a cute romantic comedy turned out to be a pretentious mess. Although I have much love for Analeigh Tipton, her part in the film served almost no purpose. Instead it followed Violet, Greta Gerwig, who is extremely unconvincing as the confident lead of a group of young girls. So much of the editing is long and drawn out. This film is filled with so many fade to black transitions that I began counting them. The film's soundtrack was absolutely horrid featuring the same music track in almost every scene. Also, this film was filled with so many cliches and horrible writing. I think one of these reviews says it best, "I imagine there was a more comprehensible first draft and then writer/director Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco) pulled the thesaurus off the shelf and went to work." I also know that other people in the theater shared the same sentiment as by the time the film ended, the theatre was nearly half as filled as when I walked in. If you want to watch this film to feel good about your intelligence level and pretentiousness go right on ahead, but I won't drink the Kool-Aid and instead will say that "Bio-Dome" is far more entertaining than this film would ever be. Expand
  7. Dec 14, 2012
    I don't have a lot to add to other bad reviews here.... but I will reiterate that this is a triumph of style over substance. I chuckled in places, but I didn't find it interesting enough to finish. The premise and place is so far removed from reality and so isolated into its own nattering world, you just realize it is not going anywhere new after a little while. But it is engaging enough to watch after that point. I can understand some might like it, but if your newest paramour says this is a great film, be a little worried. Expand
  8. Mar 18, 2013
    This movie looks very much like it was forced on Stillman to get financing because it includes many elements from his '90s trilogy, and fans of Metropolitan etc. could be counted on to fill the seats. Or that was the plan. But to me it was obvious that his heart wasn't in it. Instead of eccentric the characters now seem unhinged. Most of the time I couldn't even fathom their goals or motivations. Whoever put the wit in Whit Stillman has taken it back. There is none of the clever dialogue for which his earlier films are celebrated. And the (apparently earnest) attempt to make the "Shambola" a dance craze to help promote the film smells of desperation. In the event the movie flopped so, alas, I don't know where Stillman goes from here. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 4, 2012
    Damsels in Distress is shockingly tone-deaf. Stillman is still capable of a few amusing quips, but his storytelling is sophomoric.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 27, 2012
    The performances are all terrific - Stillman gets his actors to latch onto his absurdist vibe, then gives them wonderfully rich dialogue to play with.
  3. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 25, 2012
    Stillman inserts chapter headings and written asides into the proceedings, but none of it helps explain what is before us. The authorial voice in Damsels in Distress lacks definition.