Whit Stillman hasn't made a movie in 14 years. I remember loving his first, Metropolitan (1990), when it arrived. So did most critics. It's not so frequently discussed today but it was a big enough deal at the time to win him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He had such a fresh sophisticated voice. So I was delighted to see that the star of his "comeback" (if such a thing occurs) is an actress with a fresh comic voice, Greta Gerwig.
And not so delighted to see the Woody Allen reference right up front. It's not that I don't adore Woody but, as his endless parade of proxy protagonists proved, one Woody is enough. Whit's voice is a unique one. I hate to see unique voices shoved into tiny comparative boxes and hopefully he hasn't lost it in the 14 years since his last feature The Last Days of Disco (1998)
Let's break down the trailer with our yes, no, maybe so system.
- Whit Stillman is back
- Greta Gerwig was superbly authentic, touching and funny in Greenberg () but her off kilter whimsy got lost and was wasted on Arthur. Stillman might know what to do with her.
- Aubrey Plaza is super super fun in short doses in everything from Parks and Recreation to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
- Movies about gaggles of girls navigating college life and love led by a know it all who might not know it all or at least not very much about? Sounds ripe for comic pathos.
- Tap dancing! Better yet... More than one musical sequence.
- "Frank", Gerwig's man, seems a little empty as a character in this two minute glimpse. Will all the men be too caricatured?
We're also trying to make a difference in people's lives and one way to do that is stop them from killing themselves."
-You're worried I'll kill myself and make you look bad?
-No, I'm worried you'll kill yourself and make yourself look bad."
- There are three suicide jokes in this trailer. It's obviously a plot thread or even a full on plot. And that's a lot for one film too handle. I've met so many crazy people who hate Heathers because it dared to laugh at something that's no laughing matter.
- Aubrey Plaza is super fun in short doses but is she a major character and if so is she fun in large doses?
- Gerwig's delivery and the overall tone seems very arch and that could be hard to pull off in a full length feature.
- Are you a yes, no or maybe so?
- Do you prefer the phrase "I'm depressed" or "I'm in a tailspin"?
I was going to ask you if you considered tap dancing highly effective therapy but... duh! That goes without saying.