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DVD Review: Damsels in Distress

September 25, 2012

Damsels in Distress – A Sony Pictures Classics’ Release

DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2012

Rated PG for sexual content, language and mature themes

Running time: 99 minutes

Whit Stillman (dir.)

Whit Stillman (writer)

Mark Suozzo (music)

Greta Gerwig as Violet

Carrie MacLemore as Heather

Megalyn Echikunwoke as Rose

Analeigh Tipton as Lily

Our reviews below:


Damsels in Distress DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Violet (Greta Gerwig) has what she sees as a revolutionary idea to eradicate depression at the Seven Oaks college campus and better the lives of her fellow students, by providing free donuts and dance lessons as a form of suicide prevention.  But the lives of herself as well as friends Heather (Carrie MacLemore) and Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) take some unexpected turns when they meet transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton), and become wrapped up in the world of relationships and teaching the importance of good hygiene.

Written and directed by Whit Stillman, there is a charmingly whimsical touch to the way that Damsels in Distress deals with very real issues of depression and suicide, and the film has a genuinely unique tone that allows for several spontaneous musical numbers.  These offbeat elements all work perfectly in unison, adding up to an experience that stands wholly on its own.  With a quotably sharp script and a cast of endearingly quirky characters, Damsels in Distress is an absolute delight from beginning to end, and I found it impossible not to get wrapped up in the totally original world of the film.

The DVD includes a commentary track and Q&A with Whit Stillman and the cast, as well as a “behind the scenes” feaurette, outtakes and deleted scenes.


Damsels in Distress DVD Review By Erin V.  

***1/2 (out of 4)

Damsels in Distress is a quirky little film about a group of girls at East Coast College who help new students and the challenged among them to realize their full potential and, well, not kill themselves.  The leader of the group Violet (Greta Gerwig) runs the suicide prevention centre with the other girls, where they offer therapeutic tap dancing and donuts to those who come in feeling depressed or in a ‘tailspin.’

When a transfer student named Lily (Analeigh Tipton) comes to their school, they quickly welcome her into their group of helpers.  But when those in their own little group start realizing their own issues, and find themselves with their own hearts broken as they get caught up with various guys at the college, they must struggle together to find a way to help themselves as well.

The whole film is funny, and has an odd quirky edge to it.  In some ways it has an older style with its classic opening credits and musical choices.  The actresses and actors are all really good here, and the script is very well written with the ample dialogue moving the film along while expressing the quirky ideas of the characters.  Overall, if the trailer appeals to you, you will most likely enjoy the film.  In my book, it is worth seeing.


Damsels in Distress DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Damsels in Distress is a quirky comedy about four college girlfriends (played by Greta Gerwig, Carrie MacLemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Analeigh Tipton) who are all figuring out their lives.  From their volunteer work at a suicide prevention studio that uses tap dance and doughnut therapy, to relationships with boys – many of who smell and are none too bright, these four friends learn a lot about life.

Damsels in Distress is funny, well acted and has really great dialogue.  This is a must see for anyone who likes offbeat and clever humour.


Damsels in Distress DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Writer/director Whit Stillman has a real gift for intelligent and witty dialogue.  Damsels in Distress is a quirky and definitely not mainstream comedy about four college roommates who run an on-campus suicide prevention centre where free donuts and dance lessons are the main forms of therapy.

The centre is led by Violet (Greta Gerwig) whose take on life and her own issues are, to say the least, unique.  Along with roommates Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), Heather (Carrie MacLemore) and transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton), Violet does her best to keep the suicide rate down, particularly among the not so bright male students like Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen).

This interesting little film has the look and feel of a stage play set in another place and time.  The dialogue is non-stop with some particularly brilliant lines coming from Violet.  Mixed with the odd musical number, including a watch and learn dance called The Sambola, Damsels in Distress is thoroughly entertaining, especially if you like odd and quirky comedy.

The performances in the movie are all really good, with Greta Gerwig being particularly interesting to watch.  Her fans won’t want to miss Damsels in Distress on DVD.  Even if you’ve seen it in theatres, the quick moving dialogue deserves a second viewing.  This is odd but intelligent fun.


Damsels in Distress DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Damsels in Distress is the mission of Violet, Heather and Rose (Greta Gerwig, Carrie MacLemore and Megalyn Echikunwoke) in the Suicide [Prevention] Center at the not-so-prestigious Seven Oaks College. Extremely articulate and always pedantic, Violet is constantly sharing her peculiar world views on relationships and the therapeutic value of dance. She recommends men with low expectations like the intellectually challenged frat boys of DU House (fraternities with Greek initials being too elitist for this school). Lily (Analeigh Tipton) and Priss (Caitlin Fitzgerald) are the current damsels, in difficult relationships with Xavier (Hugo Becker), a Frenchman with a rather backward adherence to Catharism, and Fred (Adam Brody), an 8th year Ed student posing as playboy Charlie.

The fourth feature (and first since 1998) written, produced and directed by 60 year old Whit Stillman, Damsels in Distress is characteristically quirky, not to everyone’s taste. Like a good stage comedy, its script is driven by fast-paced and often brilliantly twisted dialogue delivered by a strong principal and supporting cast. If you can roll with its absurdities, you are in for a fun 99 minute ride right down to the appropriately awkward choreographed conclusion.


Consensus: Written and directed by Whit Stillman, Damsels in Distress is an offbeat and delightfully entertaining comedy that is carried by a sharp script and an endearingly quirky cast of characters.  ***1/4 (Out of 4)

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