Whit Stillman wrote, produced, and directed the film, Metropolitan, which is reminiscent of the works of John Hughes and Woody Allen rolled into one. The film makes you think twice about the yuppie generation because of an embedded loyalty among friends and an endearing tenderness, theme-wise a romanticism towards youth, New York, and the fairer sex. Nobody lets you down, and friends can pull you up, cheer you on, and disregard your weaknesses.
The plot is somewhere in the ballpark of Dostoevsky’s “T he Idiot”, but by the end, after all the romantic attachments get rounded out, it is not anywhere as tragic as that masterpiece. The happy ending is not to be subject for a failing; in fact it confirms the themes of friendship and youthful innocence. The ending is ten times better than the first two acts, and all in all the runtime makes it a watchable hour and a half.
The only drawback of the film is the encyclopedic knowledge of vocabulary that these undergrads possess. They must have all scored highly in the English section of the SATs. When characters like Audrey, Tom, and Nick put their communication prowess to use it can distract away from the plot and thereby the film, but Stillman’s hold over his principals is strong enough to bring the audience back to the here and now. The dynamic is very similar to the one achieved with the cast of Dawson’s Creek, who were written to seemingly possess English doctorates. But there were times when no one would be surprised to see Patrick Bateman, of American Psycho fame, appear swinging a machete, assaulting those in Metropolitan that are apparently too self-aware..
All insight into this brat pack is earned by an outsider, and impoverished result of a divorce, Tom Townsend. The idiot pines after a lost love, who happens to compile a list of suitors simultaneous, who are not aware of her looseness. Meanwhile, he has a girl among his new friends pining for him. It’s no coincidence that her name is Audrey, because she’s perfect as the homage to Hepburn since she too possesses a pixie-ish glow around her and charms more than one interested party. When the aloof Tom finds out that she has been collecting letters he had wrote to his ex-girlfriend, the conflict turns tables and he becomes her crusader.
Thee references to Jane Austen’s writing is felt and achieves a similar happy ending treatment. Indeed this story could be one of the nineteenth century novellas that piled the shelves during its day. Best actor of the bunch is Christopher Eigeman, a star that has been popping up in television for a while now, and plays Nick Smith, confidant to Tom’s character; they both feel invigorated by each other’s friendship, and even though Tom is reminded that they are from opposite sides of the tracks, Nick never lets Tom out of his concern. Here’s a film that goes well after a heavy meal and good wine in between.