Damsels in Distress Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Whit Stillman (‘Metropolitan’)
Starring: Greta Gerwig (‘Arthur’), Carrie MacLemore (TV’s ‘Gossip Girl’), Megalyn Echikunwoke (TV’s ‘House of Lies’), Analeigh Tipton (‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’) and Adam Brody
While college coeducation has been commonplace in American society since the early 1970s, there are still some colleges nationwide whose identities are still distinctly male. Determined to showcase how a persistent male barbaric atmosphere can be uncomfortable for female students to adjust to, the new comedy ‘Damsels in Distress’ takes a stand for women nationwide. The film finally portrays women as being the more intellectual, opinionated gender that isn’t afraid to stand up for its beliefs through strong, independent female lead characters.
‘Damsels in Distress’ follows three beautiful girls-dynamic leader Violet Wister (played by Greta Gerwig), principled Rose (portrayed by Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (played by Carrie MacLemore)-as they set out to revolutionize the student life of their grungy East Coast college, Seven Oaks. At the beginning of the school year, they decide to take a new student under their wing to mentor, and decide to welcome transfer student Lily (portrayed by Analeigh Tipton) into their group.
The three girls show Lily the way they set to help the student body of Seven Oaks, by running the suicide prevention center with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. Along the way, the girls also become entangled with a series of men at the school, including the mischievous Charlie (played by Adam Brody), the romantic Xavier (portrayed by Hugo Becker) and frat members Frank (played by Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (portrayed by Billy Magnussn, who all threaten the girls’ sanity and friendship.
Writer-director Whit Stillman took a risky move in showcasing college women as being intellectually and culturally smarter than their male counterparts in ‘Damsels in Distress,’ but the decision ultimately paid off. While such films as National Lampoon’s ‘Animal House’ and ‘Van Wilder’ have routinely shown fraternity students challenging the status quo at their schools, Stillman created independent, unique female characters who were smarter than their male counterparts. Each of the women in Violet’s group has a distinctive, take charge attitude, while the men they’re attracted to are inferior to them, whether in their book smarts or their barbaric outlook on gender roles.
Violet is the natural leader of her group of friends, as she firmly stands behind her ideas and beliefs. While people don’t always agree with her tactics, such as using dance to help the depressed students of Seven Oaks feel better, she is determined to get others to recognize her point of views. The more her peers question her beliefs, the more Violet is determined to stand up for her ideas and to improve the world. But she’s also willing to improve herself when she realizes her ideas aren’t always rights; she’s a natural leader because she’s willing to listen to other people’s points of view.
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