The Girl You’re Sorry to Feel Sorry For

Greta Gerwig, the name doesn’t roll off the tongue, nor would you probably recognize her, she’s one of those Hollywood ‘normal girls’ that you’re almost convinced by, she’s a lot easier to sympathize with when she doesn’t get the guy as opposed to say Kate Hudson. Recently seen in Damsels in Distress, Whit Stillman’s new film. Although the film left me slightly befuddled, it wasn’t without it’s merits. It’s apparent that Stillman is no longer in his element, trying to conceptualize the youth subculture, whereas  The Last Days of Disco and Metropolitan were both based on personal experiences, this film feels detached, as if he’s trying to place his past perceptions in a new environment. Damsels in Distress is placed in that non-specific time period, bordering on reality, but with a ridiculousness, satirizing different social groups, and a witty dialogue, typical of Stillman, that creates an idealized, but removed society. I’ll try not to analyze the movie, because, well, I wouldn’t really know where to begin,  but Gerwig (his Chloe Sevigny replacement) plays a strong but hopelessly flawed character, baring some semblance to the character she played in Greenberg, you empathize with her character but simultaneously feel frustration, why doesn’t she stand up for herself? doesn’t she realize she could do better? Perhaps because it’s too easy to relate to her weaknesses, she’s too human, and that’s not something we’re used to seeing when we go to a film, that it makes us feel slightly uncomfortable. Isn’t art supposed to be reflection of life, instead we’re fed films that fulfill our deepest desires, showing us life through rose-coloured glasses; shit happens, but don’t worry, you’ll end up finding an even better guy, you’ll get that promotion, and all the bad people in your life will get their punishment, we never tire of our fairy tales. But when film starts to point out our own social anxieties, and uncertainties of life, we don’t like what we see, we don’t want someone to hold up a mirror to our lives, but a picture of that super model we are trying desperately to be. Sure Gerwig’s had her duds, but I’m hopeful, I welcome the new alternative girl.

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