How many times have you found yourself in a social situation where you felt out of place? Like you didn't belong? Wondering if you should have gotten involved with these people?
In Metropolitan, Edward Clements portrays Tom, a working class teen Manhattanite. After mistakenly receiving an invitation to a party being thrown by one of the most popular girls in the preppy set, he decides to attend even though he despises the clique and comes from the West Side - the wrong side of the tracks. The preppies are fascinated with him, especially the ringleader of the group, Nick (Chris Eigeman) and one of the shy girls, Audrey (Carolyn Farina). Soon, he is a part of the gang and finds himself attending debutante balls and associating with his old girlfriend, Serena (Elizabeth Thompson).
Will Tom be able to live the high life on his limited budget? Is he still stuck on his old girlfriend or will he find true love with Audrey? Can Audrey overcome her shyness to pursue him?
At first, you might find the characters to be a bunch of over-privileged, snooty, annoying pseudo-intellectuals. If you feel this way, you get the point. These are supposed to be spoiled brats who don't know about true hardship and what life is really like. Even Tom, the likable kid we are pulling for, is a phony. He likes to pontificate on novels he hasn't read and regurgitate the arguments used by others instead of forming his own opinions. The challenge faced by Tom and all of the characters is to realize the emptiness of their lives and grow up.
Writer/director Whit Stillman creates a snappy script that skewers the upper class, especially those with old money who feel they are better than the rest of us. It is done in the style of a character study, but is more of a group study as we try to understand the motivations and histories of these kids.
Chris Eigeman shines as Nick, the snotty leader of the group. However, instead of being repulsed by him, his character actually is fascinating. He represents everything that is wrong with the group. He looks down upon others, spreads wild gossip and tries to destroy the reputation of those he does not like. Nick also longs for an earlier time where his kind ruled and recognizes that people of his ilk are dinosaurs. Most of you will recognize him from TV's It's Like, You Know , but he has been a fixture of the independent film scene, starring in such movies as Barcelona. Hopefully, his TV stint has raised his profile because he is a good actor who deserves a shot at some high profile roles.
Edward Clements is fine as Tom, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks trying to play in the big leagues. He is able to create a multi-dimensional character and makes it difficult for the audience to decide whether or not we like him. You want to root for the underdog, but he takes actions that you question. I have tried to find other films that he has appeared in, but I have not been successful. That is quite surprising considering the high acclaim the film has received.
Another performer that I can't find a history for is Carolyn Farina, who takes a more than competent turn as Audrey. She is able to capture the character's naivete and longing for a more honest person in her life. Of the group, she is the one who sees that she does not want to be a part of all this.
If you are in the mood for a character study this weekend, check out Metropolitan.
Directed and Written by Whit Stillman
Carolyn Farina .. Audrey
Edward Clements .. Tom
Taylor Nichols .. Charlie
Chris Eigeman .. Nick
Alison Parisi . Jane
Dylan Hundley .. Sally
Elizabeth Thompson . Serena
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