Damsels in Distress

2012

Damsels in Distress

Critics Consensus

Damsels in Distress can sometimes feel mannered and outlandish, but it's redeemed by director Whit Stillman's oddball cleverness and Greta Gerwig's dryly funny performance.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 141

39%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,381
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Movie Info

Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress is a comedy about a trio of beautiful girls as they set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American university - the dynamic leader Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig), principled Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). They welcome transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) 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 smooth Charlie (Adam Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker) and the mad frat pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen)-who threaten the girls' friendship and sanity... -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics

Cast

Adam Brody
as Fred Packenstacker/Fred Packenstacker/Charlie Walker
Alia Shawkat
as Mad Madge
Nick Blaemire
as "Freak" Astaire
Taylor Nichols
as Professor Black
Aubrey Plaza
as Depressed Debbie
Zach Woods
as Rick DeWolfe
Domenico D'Ippolito
as Complainer Student
Joe Coots
as Barman
Cortez Nance Jr.
as Groundskeeper
Aja Naomi King
as Positive Polly
Jordanna Drazin
as Emily Tweeter
Madison Cerniglia
as Classmate 1
Veronica Mu
as Classmate 2
Laila Drew
as Young Rose
Carolyn Farina
as At the Dinner: Carolina Antonucci
George Atkinson
as Sincere Highway Worker
Jonnie Louis Brown
as Fresh Highway Worker
Doug Yasuda
as Professor Ryan
Todd Bartels
as Charlie's Friend 1
Edward T. Martin
as Charlie's Friend 2
Max Lodge
as ALA Pamphlet Guy
Bryce Burke
as Gladiator
Jared Burke
as "Cary" (Jumper)
Clare Halpine
as Cary's Girlfriend
Colleen Dengel
as Seminar Cynthia
Will Storie
as D.U. Brother "hygiene"
Christopher Angerman
as D.U. Brother "boots"
View All

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Critic Reviews for Damsels in Distress

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (106) | Rotten (35)

Audience Reviews for Damsels in Distress

  • Mar 17, 2016
    I watched half an hour and couldn't take any more. That old time style of talking really grates on me and is part of the reason I don't enjoy period films. This isn't even a period piece despite its retro look. Quite disappointed. I like Greta Gerwig generally, and this looked like it would have potential. Nope.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2013
    This movie strikes a tone that few before it have, and presents a undergraduate environment as one in which people aren't who they seem to be and are always putting on airs to disguise their weakness of spirit, morals or intellect. The ending was wacky and I couldn't get my head around it, but for most of the film the characters and the conversations were interesting despite the uncommon language they used. The film is full of little ironies and the characters hypocritical, and yet, it doesn't come off as satirical; in fact, I found I could relate to it, more than five years after finishing my BA. The cripplingly good intentions are something to behold, as is the self-obsession and projection, but what's remarkable about the movie is that it's still all rather happy... and not in that saccharine or hollowly nostalgic way that college movies usually are; I genuinely liked these characters while simultaneously watching them be repulsive. A solid story of anti-heroes that would play well with fans of HBO's Girls or Sex and the City (the TV series, not the cheap cinematic cash-ins), and a film that can generate a lot of discussion about altruism and whether or not it's completely dead. Worth checking out, if only because no two people will read it the same way.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2013
    Speaking of "Damsels in Distress:" Violet(Greta Gerwig), Heather(Carrie MacLemore) and Rose(Megalyn Echikunwoke) recruit new student Lily(Analeigh Tipton) into their cause. Said cause being suicide prevention. Which they intend to do through donuts, coffee and tap dancing. When that does not work, there is always busting down doors which they do when they rescue Priss(Caitlin FitzGerald) who claims she was only glum. Otherwise, Lily is content with being the third wheel to Xavier(Hugo Becker) and Alice(Meredith Hagner). With "Damsels in Distress," writer-director Whit Stillman manages to prove once and for all that he has his head jammed firmly up his backside with dialogue that no human being would ever say in the real world in his hard hitting expose of cliques on college campuses. Out of that there are maybe a couple of nice moments.("Did you stay at the Motel 6?" "No, I stayed at the Motel 4. It was cheaper.") Plus, the movie has a rather cavalier attiude towards mental illness. Well, since the spoken word had no chance, then maybe Stillman should have made a musical with this material which he hints at repeatedly until the musical number that finally arrives too little too late.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    A smart, thought provoking comedy with overflowing charm. Whit Stillman has crafted a great script and every line of dialogue is livened to the max by the film's brilliant cast. Greta Gerwig was born to play this role and she nails it.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer

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