Director: Whit Stillman
Screenwriters: Whit Stillman

Institute History


When Tom (Edward Clements) accidentally meets a group of young partygoers outside a New York City hotel during Christmas vacation, he is injected into a sophisticated world whose inhabitants are rich, bright, articulate, and more-than-a-little lost. Dubbed Sally Fowler’s Rat Pack or SFRP by Charley (Taylor Nichols), who likes acronyms, the seven friends adopt Tom because “there’s a real escort shortage.” He soon establishes a relationship with Audrey (Carolyn Farina), who idolizes Jane Austen, as the group wanders from one gathering to the next amid Charley’s gloomy prediction that they are “doomed to failure” once they enter the real world.

Whit Stillman’s stylish portrait of the “preppy” class played at the Sundance Film Festival exactly 20 years ago and went on to win an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature and an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Beyond the obvious parallels to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Metropolitan is an American counterpart to Eric Rohmer’s comedies of manners; Stillman also shares Luis Buñuel’s ability to deftly skewer social mores and behavior, but his touch is much lighter. Thanks to Westerly Film Video for providing the print for this screening.

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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