Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Damsels in Distress follows a trio of beautiful girls who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast College – the dynamic leader Violet Wister, principled Rose and sexy Heather. They welcome transfer student Lily into their group which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series
    of men -- including slick Charlie, dreamboat Xavier and the mad frat
    pack of Frank and Thor—who threaten the girls’ friendship and sanity. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Apr 1, 2012
    Even though I'm not sure I understand what Stillman was going for minute-to-minute, I was swept away by how original Damsels is, and how funny.
  2. Reviewed by: Miriam Bale
    Apr 3, 2012
    The clash of styles in Damsels in Distress is bewildering and then disarming.
  3. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 3, 2012
    Too many movies come to us as preordained cult objects - this is the real deal.
  4. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Apr 2, 2012
    Given the earnest mayhem that prevails at your local multiplex, there is surely a place for a lightly mocking modernist with a growing distaste for the modern. [9 April 2012, p.84]
  5. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Apr 19, 2012
    These are women who seemed raised on Louisa May Alcott and might have been aspirationally besotted with Jane Austen. But you sense tragedy looming. They're hurtling, inexorably, toward Tennessee Williams.
  6. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Apr 1, 2012
    While the scenario has all the smirking charm of Stillman's earlier movies, the sobering realities of off-campus life are never even alluded to, and the humor of insularity eventually becomes stifling.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 13, 2012
    You can almost say it simulates an experience of brain injury in the audience: Nothing adheres, nothing connects. It's just nonstop cuteness, poses and emptiness - with nothing logically following from one moment to the next. It would be exaggerating to call it torture, and yet why split hairs?

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 14
  2. Negative: 6 out of 14
  1. Sep 30, 2012
    A particularly quirky comedy that has a beat every bit it's own, the most obvious comparison of style I could make is to that of Woody Allen's comedic flourishes, and a sharply written screenplay filled with quick, snappy social insights, that is almost the sole reason to watch. The other reason to watch lies in the inspired performances on display, particularly those of Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton. They both shine here, Gerwig as the bright, passionate leader of the damsels, Tipton as the newest member of the group content with remaining ordinary. Most of the time, it's hard to really get a grasp on what exactly Stilman is saying here, sometimes I'm not sure he's even wanting to say anything at all and is content to just sit back and bask in the absurdity of it all, but the off-beat comic universe that he envelops you in is so secular and wholly original and the style so visually appealing that it's hard to at least not remain consistently interested in 'Damsels in Distress'. Expand
  2. Jan 3, 2014
    This is a wonderful gem of a film. I can see why it's so polarising; you either embrace it or are enraged by it. It's all rather silly really, but oh so magical. Dialogue is whip smart and full of honesty, the performances are excellent, and some scenes are just wonderfully funny. Greta Gerwig is wonderful as always. Expand
  3. j30
    May 9, 2012
    I found Damsels In Distress hilarious and one of the best comedies I've seen recently. The dialogue is razor sharp, the actresses are great, particularly Greta Gerwig's character. I admit there's probably one dead spot in the film, but it quickly picks up where it left off. Expand
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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

See all 14 User Reviews