Promotional poster for Metropolitan
|Directed by||Whit Stillman|
|Produced by||Whit Stillman|
|Written by||Whit Stillman|
|Music by||Jock Davis
|Editing by||Christopher Tellefsen|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release dates||August 3, 1990 (USA)|
|Running time||98 minutes|
|Box office||$2,938,208 (USA)|
Shot on location in Manhattan and Long Island, the movie depicts the lives of young, well-educated upper-class New Yorkers (or, as one character calls them, the "urban haute bourgeoisie") home for winter break from their first year of college during debutante ball season.
Middle-class Princeton student Tom Townsend, an admirer of Charles Fourier's socialism, attends a ball one evening on a whim and meets a small group of young Upper East Side socialites with whom he shares some mutual friends - including Serena Slocumb, whom Tom dated briefly at boarding school and now pines for. Unbeknownst to Tom, another girl in the group, Audrey, has a crush on him.
Tom attends several more balls and after-parties over the next two weeks, gradually becoming ingratiated with this group of people he had claimed to disdain. Chief among them is Nick Smith, a somewhat nihilistic dandy, and Charlie Black, an intellectual who has a crush on Audrey. All in the group are aware that their social scene and way of life is a relic of the past. Much of the film is taken up by the group's discussions of their milieu and its complex social rules, which Tom often blithely violates. Tom's father is wealthy but left his family several years earlier and took all of their money with him, so Tom has a very conflicted relationship with wealth and the upper-class social scene, which is both familiar and unfamiliar to him.
Eventually, Audrey tires of Tom's self-absorption and obsession with Serena, and goes off for a weekend in the Hamptons on Long Island with Rick von Slonecker, a callous young aristocrat rumored to be a sadist and misogynist. Tom learns from Serena that Audrey has had a crush on Tom from afar for more than a year, and that Serena gave her all of Tom's love letters (which Serena would otherwise have thrown out). Tom and Charlie, worried about what Rick might do to Audrey, take a taxi to the Hamptons to retrieve her. She is touched, and leaves with them. The film ends ambiguously, as Audrey plans to return to study in France and Tom contemplates flying to visit her. The final shot shows Tom, Audrey, and Charlie walking back to New York City.
- Carolyn Farina as Audrey Rouget, a young debutante.
- Edward Clements as Tom Townsend, a Princeton student who falls into Audrey's group of friends.
- Chris Eigeman as Nick Smith, a cynic who takes Tom under his wing.
- Taylor Nichols as Charlie Black, a stammering philosopher who is wary of Tom.
- Allison Parisi as Jane Clark, Audrey's best friend.
- Dylan Hundley as Sally Fowler, an aspiring singer who lets the group use her parents' Upper East Side apartment for their nightly get-togethers.
- Isabel Gillies as Cynthia McLean, Sally's best friend.
- Bryan Leder as Fred Neff, an alcoholic college graduate and mutual friend of the group.
- Will Kempe as Rick Von Sloneker, a rival of Nick and Tom.
- Ellia Thompson as Serena Slocum, Tom's ex-girlfriend, who is dating Von Sloneker.
- Stephen Uys as Victor Lemley.
Whit Stillman wrote the screenplay for Metropolitan between 1984 and 1988 while he was running an illustration agency in New York, and financed it by selling his apartment for $50,000 as well as with a few contributions from family members and friends. Stillman claims the movie is based on events from his life in late 1970, while he was living with his divorced mother in Washington D.C. While on Christmas break during his first year at Harvard University, he met a group of like-minded college students from various universities around the country. Each night, he and his new group of friends attended a formal ballroom dance party at a hotel or convention hall, and then retired to an after-hours gathering at one of the students' parents' houses in nearby Georgetown. The group then spent the remainder of the night talking, debating and discussing a wide range of topics. As in the movie, this nightly ritual eventually ended just after New Year's Day when Stillman and the rest of the group returned to their respective schools.
Awards and honors
- Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay
- Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
American Film Institute recognition:
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Metropolitan (film)|
- Metropolitan at the Internet Movie Database
- Metropolitan at allmovie
- Metropolitan at Rotten Tomatoes
- Criterion Collection essay by Luc Sante