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Damsels in Distress Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The Official Preppy Handbook, 2012 Edition. Read full review


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Stillman's still got it. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    These are hardly damsels, but the distress will be felt by audiences watching the collection of non sequiturs, twee remarks and tangential vignettes that is Damsels in Distress.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Gerwig can't make her character come alive, though, and neither can Adam Brody as one of their neediest male cases. In the midst of the froufrou, lovely, stalklike Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love) is delightful as a student who enjoys being normal and living in this century.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Wry college comedy may go over young teens' head.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Damsels in Distress is a quirky indie that isn't the crude raunchfest audiences might expect from a college-set comedy. It's actually very tame, with the exception of some making out and a few references to a sexual relationship based on the boyfriend's unorthodox religious beliefs. The issue of suicide prevention is dealt with in a wry manner (the main characters get depressed students interested in tap dancing and musicals). Language includes several uses of "bitch," as well as "damn," "retard," and "ass"; drinking is limited to a scene at a fraternity party. It's notable that the main characters are female, since so many college movies feature guys in the spotlight. But with so much dialogue, it's likely younger teens may not be ready for Damsels in Distress' sophisticated humor.

  • Families can talk about what Damsels in Distress is trying to say about self identity and what it means to be yourself even when no one around you understands why you're a certain way. How are the girls each an example of a unique personality?
  • How is this college comedy different than other campus movies? Why are so few college comedies focused on young women rather than young men? Why are fraternity guys depicted as so dimwitted?
  • The director is known for his dialogue; do you think a movie based on conversation rather than plot will engage teen audiences?
  • How does the movie address sex and relationships? Is it realistic?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: It's hard to say exactly what the messages are, since there's a good bit of lying and personality changing in the story. But one lesson is to stay true to your own voice and ideas even when surrounded by those who don't care or don't understand you. The girls have a mission and they're not afraid it will fail, because they're sure about themselves.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The girls are genuinely interested in helping others, but they also do so to make themselves feel better. The girls think it's better to date guys who aren't as intelligent as they are in order to mold them. Some of the girls' ideas are laughably naive, but they almost always have good intentions. On the other hand, two of the girls lie about who they are, where they come from, etc.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: No actual violence, but since the central clique of girls runs a suicide prevention center, several supporting characters are suicidal.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Sexuality is mentioned or referred to on many occasions, but there aren't any graphic love scenes. After a make-out session between one of the girls and her beau, he explains that his religion requires him to make "non-procreative love" (an obvious allusion to anal sex, although the words aren't used). She nods in agreement, they begin to kiss, and the scene fades away. This belief is mentioned a few more times. Other characters kiss (in a couple of cases, the guy is with another one of the girls at the time), and one girl refers to a guy as a "player."

  • language false2

    Language: "Bitch" is said the most often. Other curse words and insults include "bastard," "damn," and "ass." The word "retard" is also used two or three times.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: One of the girls wears a Longchamp purse, but otherwise, there aren't any overt product placements.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking at college parties; some attendees are presumably underage.