Criterion Corner: Metropolitan. 1990

The Criterion Collection for years have been releasing the best versions of movies on DVD and Blue Ray.  They are hands down the ultimate praise a film can receive,and while many claim  the Oscar to be  the ultimate recognition.  Having the work and praise that goes into a Criterion edition.  Shows that it was put together by film lovers for film lovers.  This section is going to be dedicated to some of the great movies in this growing collection.


What I love best about movies is the different places I get to visit and the various types of people I get to meet. These are like mini vacations, because I only stay for a couple of hours and then I get to leave. A lot of my journeys have involved characters I would not want to live with.  “Requiem For a Dream” did not make me want to become a drug addict, and “Full Metal Jacket” did not want to make me join the army. Still I found both of those movies to be very good because of the characters and situations  in them. The same thing goes for “Metropolitan“. Almost every person in this is a rich upperclassman whom I have not a thing in common with.   If I were to see a group of them in a corner somewhere, I would probably assume they were snobs, and laugh at them.  Whit Stillman takes us inside their world, and even though their tastes in things are vastly different from mine. I found they have the same social problems when it comes to friendship and dating that most of us have.

One night at a ball a young gent named Tom(Edward Clements) meets up with a group of preppies(Hey they used the term so don’t think I’m just calling names). They get together each week and discuss topics like philosophy or works of great literature. Tom stays with the group even though he is not rich as the rest of them. One of them refers to him as a public transportation snob because he always takes the bus instead of cabs.  In the group a young girl named Audrey(Carolyn Farina) gets a crush on Tom, but he is in love with an ex girlfriend named Serena(Ellia Thompson). She is in fact in love with a guy named Rick(Will Kempe) who is attracted to Audrey . What follows next is a series of adventures where hearts are broken, unlikely friendships are formed, and love eventually finds it way in the end.

The dialoug from Whit Stillman is very good and was very deserving of an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. These characters may speak about things that would not interest many of us.  However the way they interact with each other is the same way all social groups interact. You could put a group of metal heads next to a group of film buffs and if you really looked closely they would have a lot more in common then just  their interests. All of the actors in this do a really good job and while I am indifferent to their characteristics. I found them very fascinating to watch. It was almost like studying a new type of species out in their natural habitat, upper class New York.

This is the first part of a trilogy by Stillman including “Barcelona” and “Last Days of Disco“. I’m a huge fan of “..Disco” but have not seen the other one yet. I’m reminded of a quote by the great Bugs Bunny when he said “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”  That is how I feel about “Metropolitan


Special Features.

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Whit Stillman and cinematographer John Thomas, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Stillman, editor Christopher Tellefsen, and actors Christopher Eigeman and Taylor Nichols
  • Rare outtakes and alternate casting, with commentary by Stillman
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Luc Sante


About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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9 Responses to Criterion Corner: Metropolitan. 1990

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Great script can make up for some of the faults of it’s cast and direction. Perhaps the best thing about this movie is that it allows us to care for a bunch of characters, we wouldn’t have given a crap about had it been another flick. Nice review bud.

  2. Dan Heaton says:

    Vern, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this movie. It’s a personal favorite, and I agree that these aren’t the type of people I’d hang out with in real life. The actors (particularly the great Chris Eigeman) totally sell the material, and Stillman’s unique style of dialogue works so well. I’ve heard a lot of negative reactions to Stillman and his films from other movie fans, so I’m glad you had a positive experience with this one. It’s my favorite of his movies and loses nothing on a repeat viewing.

    • The Vern says:

      It surprised me Dan, and if a movie can do that I will like it. I still prefer Last Days of Disco, but will now check out Barcelona and Damsels in Distress very soon. Thanks for the comment

  3. ninvoid99 says:

    So far, this is my favorite Stillman film as I’m glad I went I chose him as my recent Auteurs subject. I was surprised at how much I was able to relate to these people. In fact, I want to hang out with them.

  4. Becki Jolly says:

    I haven’t seen this one Vern but I’ve been wanting some recommendations for some of the Criterion collection. I’ll add this to my list of films to check out. Great review as always!

  5. Pingback: Criterion Corner: The Last Days of Disco(1998) | The Vern's Video Vortex.

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