If you followed this blog last year you may recall my constant praise of a film called Love and Friendship. This is based on a novel called Lady Susan by Jane Austen and is adapted and directed by Whit Stilman. So, for the 2017 Blind Spot series I decided to watch one of Stilman’s other popular films called Metropolitan. After viewing it, I still like Love and Friendship best but Metropolitan was an enjoyable watch.
Metropolitan is about a group of young Manhattan socialites out on winter break from their first year in college. They gather together after a debutante ball as a group called the ‘Sally Fowler Rat Pack’ named after the girl whose apartment they use for parties.
The movie is more like a filmed play than a movie. It has a small cast and most of the time is spent in small rooms having or recovering from parties. It’s like Dinner with Andre in the way it is about people just talking more than any kind of plot.
But my favorite is Audrey who loves Jane Austen and defends Mansfield Park to her supposedly sophisticated friends. This is a great scene because he is critical of the characters in Mansfield Park for doing the same thing that the Rat Pack is doing.
Like I said, there’s not a lot of plot here so if that is going to bother you than you won’t like it. Plus, these are definitely people with first world problems with a tone and feel that is very much a creature of its time. If this same script was written now it would be full of politics, social justice posturing and at least one gay character, which would be fine, just different.
The main purpose of the movie is to examine manners and rules as seen through the lens of the elites. This is why Jane Austen is a helpful foil as that was the purpose of most of her writings. For example, the theatrics in Mansfield Park were considered taboo for good society and the characters ask themselves what is taboo now? What are the lines that can’t be crossed? When do you lie out of common courtesy? And when is lying wrong? When is a person a friend you must be loyal towards and when are they a tool in the social ladder? These are questions the script addresses
Overall I enjoyed Metropolitan and I think the script by Whit Stilman is outstanding. My only flaw with it is sometimes the characters could be a little hard to relate with. I wish he had allowed a few more moments of humanity and warmth amongst all the social pandering. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a watch and a good movie with a cracking script!
Overall Grade- B+