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Damsels in Distress (12A)

Damsels in Distress (12A)

A trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus, and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.

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The critical consensus

Writer-director Whit Stillman returns with a campus comedy full of unabashed joy and wonderfully wonky characters.

****(*)Xan Brooks, The Guardian, 05/04/2012

The casting of the adorkable Gerwig is key here; her screwball sass gives Stillman’s wryness some added spryness.

****(*)Jamie Dunn, The Skinny, 09/04/2012

A mixed return for Stillman, Damsels is so whimsically out of step it’s like a time-travel comedy without the time travel. Fortunately, Gerwig and some dazzling dialogue save his blushes.

***(*)(*)Matt Mueller, Total Film, 18/04/2012

It doesn’t help Stillman’s case that Damsels in Distress suffers from direction that’s often uninspired and inept, but then Stillman was always a better wordsmith than visual stylist. All that said, it’s good to see such a filmmaker with such a genuinely unique sensibility making movies again.

***(*)(*)Miles Fielder, The List, 17/04/2012

There’s clearly a witty mind at work, although what’s on screen suggests an open martini bottle too.

***(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 22/04/2012

Gilded by a giddy Greta Gerwig, Damsels In Distress is a sharp, daffy, eccentric delight. Stillman may be an acquired taste, but no-one else is making films like this. Cherish it.

****(*)Ian Freer, Empire Online, 22/04/2012

The end result doesn’t so much reflect a filmmaker dancing to the kooky beat of his own drum, but one capriciously flailing around because he’s used up all his best moves.

**(*)(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 26/04/2012

The off-beat sensibility may appeal to some but I found it torture.

**(*)(*)(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, 25/04/2012

There's certain amount of interest initially in where the story is headed, but like Violet and her chums, the film's mannered way becomes very annoying, very quickly.

**(*)(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 26/04/2012

Alas, much as I wished it otherwise, [the director's] comeback is mostly unlyrical, and worse, unfunny.

**(*)(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 27/04/2012

You’ll be able to count the number of laughs on one finger.

David Edwards, Daily Record, 27/04/2012

A rare pleasure to watch, and a pleasure to have Stillman back.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 26/04/2012

An acquired taste, but a taste you should really try to acquire.

****(*)David Jenkins, Little White Lies, 26/04/2012

A therapeutically funny romcom.

****(*)Tim Robey, The Telegraph, 26/04/2012

This is a feelgood film, if you must – but not in any way you'll recognise. You'll gape at the sheer improbability of Damsels In Distress, but go with it, and you may find it lifts your soul even as it makes your jaw drop.

****(*)Jonathan Romney, The Independent, 29/04/2012

There is a good deal of whimsy here mixed with the wit, and the deadly seriousness of the students leads to everything being taken to extremes.

Philip French, The Observer, 29/04/2012

The nearly-there story fails to progress into anything of much interest or narrative value, even for the genre, making Damsels in Distress a film that doesn’t quite know what it is – or, at least, doesn’t quite have the courage to get there.

**(*)(*)(*)Alexandra Wingate, TV Bomb, 07/05/2012

Features about Damsels in Distress (12A)

Whit Stillman: 'If you want the perfect future, invent it yourself'

Xan Brooks, The Guardian, 12/04/2012

Director Whit Stillman in interview

Jamie Dunn, The Skinny, 13/04/2012

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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