Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cinema Sunday - Damels in Distress

Damsels In Distress is a quirky little movie that gently pulls the viewer in and holds them in place until the credits roll.

The movie description on Amazon reads as follows:

A trio of girls set out to change the male-dominated environment of the Seven Oaks college campus, and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.

Uh... okay. Doesn't sound like much, but believe you me, it packs a helluva punch, albeit a lightly scented, gentle and polite punch.

If you've read my book reviews, you know I don't like to give out much plot. I know I like to be surprised... and so I'm assuming you do, too.

I will say this: the movie follows three girls and their new "friend" through their sophomore year at university. Violet is the main character, and at first she seems prissy, unbending, elitist and privileged. However as layers are revealed, the viewer comes to realize she's quite naive, optimistic despite her past, and believes firmly that dance can get you through depression.

I think she's on to something.

A few years back my mom died. It was a difficult time for me - there were several other factors in play at the time - and I fell into depression. I had a friend with a trampoline. She invited me over several times, and we'd just jump up and down on it. I said once, "It's impossible to be depressed on a trampoline." I think the same is true for dance.

In any other hands, the character of Violet would be hard to stomach. But Greta Gerwig lends her a believability and innocence beyond comprehension. She seems off-putting at first, but it is Violet who brings people together, in her own very strange and compelling way.

This movie isn't really about anything - there is no real turning point or plot development. At the end, though, I realized it was about friendship, hope, community and delighting in the simple things... like dance.

The whole cast is wonderful, but I want to give a shout out to Adam Brody. He's been a favorite of mine since The O.C., and it's wonderful to see him shine in his part. Spoiler alert: he sings. Or maybe he just lip-syncs really well... there's an actual mystery as to whether he sings or someone else does. In an interview, Adam Brody admits to singing, but then interjects he's not at liberty to say.

For $1.28 at my local Redbox, this movie brought me an evening of entertainment, and characters that will stay with me for a very long time. Rent it... you won't be sorry you did.

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