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A while ago a friend recommended Whit Stillman’s movie Metropolitan to me, and I figured that, as a young person who had intellectual conversations with groups of friends in New York, I would find it especially resonant with my life in the city. The young people I’ve met in New York are not dyed-in-the-wool preppies (with few exceptions), so I did not find the direct parallels I thought I would. But the movie happened to be the most intelligent and subtly funny film I have seen in recent memory.

Its brilliance lies in its subtle wit and spot-on analysis of American preppie culture. The idea that preppies are “doomed to fail” looms large. Most will make enough money to sustain their lives, but not enjoy their jobs or attain true satisfaction in other areas of life. And given the indolence that wealth is wont to produce and the social mobility that democratic captialism provides, many will be finding themselves descending the social ladder.

Today the guy who first told me about Metropolitan mentioned an article in First Things by Austin W. Bramwell highlighting the Christian morality of Metropolitan and Stillman’s other films, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco . So the next time you’re looking for a good movie, pick up a copy of Metropolitan . You’ll discover (or rediscover) a serious look at the American bourgeousie as seen by a master social analyst.



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