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Metropolitan (1990)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,061

My Rating

Movie Info

The debut film from writer-director Whit Stillman etches a sophisticated comic portrait of New York debutante society at the twilight of the 1980s. Set during the Christmas season, the film is told from the vantage point of Tom Townsend (Edward Clements), a self-professed proletarian radical who stumbles into the social sphere of a group of well-off Upper East Side twentysomethings calling themselves the SFRP (or Sally Fowler Rat Pack, named in honor of a frequent party hostess). The group


Drama, Comedy

Feb 14, 2006

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Latest News on Metropolitan

August 27, 2014:
RT Podcast: Ep. 045 - Writer/Director Whit Stillman
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco, Barcelona) dropped by...


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All Critics (27) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (3) | DVD (6)

Whit Stillman's crafty independent feature about wealthy Park Avenue teenagers and a middle-class boy who joins their ranks over one Christmas vacation is certainly well imagined, and impressively acted by a cast of newcomers.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Filmmaker Whit Stillman makes a strikingly original debut with Metropolitan, a glib, ironic portrait of the vulnerable young heirs to Manhattan's disappearing debutante scene.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

None of Stillman's endearing characters quite fits their prescribed social context, and in its exhilarated final movement, Metropolitan finds an exit out of the stifling UHB salon.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

True appreciation for this movie may be restricted to those with firsthand experience in this kind of world, or a certain upper-haute stamina.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not very much happens in Metropolitan, and yet everything that happens is felt deeply, because the characters in this movie are still too young to have perfected their defenses against life.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like chamber music, Metropolitan is sprightly, intimate and all too self-aware.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You get the feeling that you're eavesdropping on real conversation rather than the polite chit-chat you might expect at actual events, and seeing those aristocratic tendencies fall away to reveal scared human beings is part of the movie's infinite charm.

September 4, 2012 Full Review Source:

Stillman's script is so present at every moment that it's easy to overlook how precisely the film has been directed.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Unusual subject matter handled with competent self-assurance.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A witty, urbane portrait of Manhattan's debutante scene.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source:

As low-budget as the film looks, Stillman overcomes financial limitations by providing a learned script and eliciting polished performances.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

It's wearing surprisingly well, yet is touchingly dated.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

It's the beautifully chiselled dialogue -- counterpointed by near-static camerawork and a nicely mannered acting style -- that remains the chief attraction.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

Stillman's film depends on strong dialogue and language, his humor is submerged in the text and is played deadpan by his actors; no wonder some critics have compared him to the Gallic Eric Rohmer

December 27, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

...Stillman's vision and words last as memory, as a look back at a more innocent time, as a thought stretched luxuriously into sarcasm, some cynicism, and many simple and sublime moments.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

has the humor, warmth, and satirical edge to make it a tragically forgotten classic

November 12, 2005 Full Review Source:

Stillman is a careful observer with an obvious love of language, and his wonderful, fresh cast handles the script with ease, conveying just the right measure of deadpan, jejune super-seriousness.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Talky and pretentious, saved only by Eigeman's dry wit.

March 18, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

One of the few films that successfully makes the East Coast upper class sympathetic. Stillman is current cinema's one true wit.

August 30, 2002
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Metropolitan is not for everyone; but that is not a mark of shame or condemnation.

November 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Movieline

This film's fine point is not so much the plot as its view of this young aristocracy and the often funny and always engrossing dialogue.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

On a technical level, this is an amazingly slick film. Stillman knows how to, as they say, put every dollar on the screen. And on balance, he's certainly a filmmaker to watch for in the future.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Stillman films, with their acerbic humor, are perhaps best on the second and third viewing. With their rapid-fire approach and their subtle dialog, it is easy to miss many of the lines the first time around.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Audience Reviews for Metropolitan

A film that somehow bridges the gap between Gen X comedies of the nineties and Jane Austen, "Metropolitan" is the story of a group of friends who are all pretending for everyone's benefit. Set in the late 1980s and possibly being the predecessor to films such as "Reality Bites" and "Empire Records", "Metropolitan" has characters that are happy to philosophize and mediate on debates of culture and art, but can't understand the dynamics of their ever shrinking group, or the implications of their actions in the context of love. The group contains many college freshmen, most considered debutantes, living in New York during winter break. Newcomer Tom (Clements) is more middle class than the rest of them, but sidles in thanks to the affections of a longtime admirer, Audrey (Farina). Within the group are several trend-following nymphets, a dodgy intellectual, a sweet tempered literature lover, and a narcissist and hypocrite who seems to guide them all at first, until they turn on him and his lies. That character is Nick (Eigeman) who comes off as a sort of nihilist towards his upper class friends, commenting on their sophisticated indulgence as an outsider, and insulting their bourgeoisie lifestyles while living it himself and calling for at least self-awareness. This indie film had many little performances that made a big impact. Much of this is resting on superb dialogue, between characters that are unpredictable while still being familiar. This film was nominated for Best Original Script at the Academy Awards that year and I can understand that from the dialogue heavy content .The group's world is something I've never seen on film because it's constructed from their own fallacies and hang ups. We as the audience cannot understand their motives because we're not voyeurs into the elite, but into a group of martyrs. Besides some awkward performances, which kept me from absolutely loving this film, it was well written, directed, and shot. Interesting and flamboyant in every sense of the word, you will want to see this look into a world within a world.
February 11, 2013

Super Reviewer

Utterly original and unique film makes a group of young Park Avenue socialites sympathetic. The witty script rightfully earned an Oscar nomination.
June 25, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. Tom Townsend: I don't read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way, you get both the novelist's ideas as well as the critic's thinking.
    – Submitted by Chad E (18 months ago)
    1. Nick Smith: The last way to be happy is to make it your objective in life.
    – Submitted by Chad E (18 months ago)
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