If Woody Allen made a teen movie, it might look something like Metropolitan, a witty, urbane portrait of Manhattan's debutante scene. Originally released back in 1990, it's the lauded first film from writer/director Whit Stillman, who's only made two more since (1994's Barcelona and 1998's The Last Days Of Disco). It's aged well, thanks to a reliance on old-fashioned virtues like smart (in fact Oscar-nominated) scripting and memorable characters - among them the cynical Nick (Stillman regular Christopher Eigeman) and deb-party newcomer Tom (Edward Clements).
It's through the latter's eyes that we meet the Sally Fowler Rat Pack, named after the girl whose Park Avenue pad they often gather in. A middle-class student in a hired tux, Tom doesn't approve of these rich kids, but he's there at every black-tie bash, debating the merits of Jane Austen, Luis Buñuel and public transport. His quiet intensity wins the heart of the sweet Audrey (Carolyn Farina); trouble is, he's still carrying a torch for ex-girlfriend Serena (Elizabeth Thompson).
"A SAGE REMINDER"
Stillman's use of a love-triangle device gives some shape to the dialogue-driven story. But it's also a sage reminder that, behind the trust funds, these toffs share the same anxieties and insecurities with any teen on the street. They just happen to talk about French socialism a bit more. True, there are times when you want to wring their spoilt, self-opinionated necks. But the conversation's usually so simulating that, even if aspects of this well-to-do world seem as alien as Mars, you'll still have a ball.