Damsels in Distress

Synopsis: Violet and her two cohorts attempt to help their "less-fortunate" students at Seven Oaks College - primarily by running a Suicide Prevention Centre and offering their off-beat advice whenever they get a chance. Violet's newest rescue is transfer student, Lily, and Violet wants to teach her how to talk and dress properly, and how to select appropriate men to be interested in. Along their way in helping everybody at the college, the damsels teach the fraternity doofi to hit the books, they get their hearts broken, but then attempt to start an international dance craze.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Whit Stillman
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

- Look.

- Where?


Yes. l think so.


Are you a new student?

- Yes.

- Good. We thought so.

We'd like to help you.

Help me? What do you mean?

As a freshman, it can be very tough.

You get to college and it's supposed

to be great, but it's not.

University life can be pretty bad.

- There are a lot of suicides.

- Well, attempted ones.

l'm not actually a freshman.

l'm a transfer student.

- Oh, an entering sophomore?

- Yes.

You were unhappy

and are looking to recover here.

- Well, l think you will.

- Yes.

Would you welcome that? Would our

help be something you'd appreciate?

Or would you rather sink or swim

on your own?

- Either way is fine. We'll be friends.

- Yes, whichever you'd prefer.

Yes. Sure.

Great. We should start immediately.

Clothes can be crucial for confidence

and an overall sense of well-being.

- Clothes don't have to be expensive.

- You need friends of the same size.

- You don't like my clothes?

- l'm just saying. Move it out.

What? What's wrong?

- What's wrong?

- You didn't notice that?

- No. What?

- Those guys.

That smell. That awful, acrid odor.

Have you heard

of nasal shock syndrome?

Any harsh, acrid or just disgusting

odor sends Rose into nasal shock.

Just from some BO?

"Just some BO"? Oh, my God, Lily.

You must have

a very high threshold for pain.

That'll serve you well

at Seven Oaks.

- What do you mean?

- Seven Oaks is notorious for its BO.

lt was the last of the Select Seven

to go coed.

An atmosphere

of male barbarism predominates...

- ...but we're going to change that.

- Yes.

Where are you going?

Gotta get to the Housing Department.

They lost my rooming assignment.

That's terrible.

You have no place to stay?

Was it just mislaid?

No, there were more acceptances

than they anticipated...

...and not enough rooms

to go around, so....

Why don't you stay with us?


Don't think of this in the old-fashioned

sense of going to a party...

...to find someone

or not find someone.

That's not the dynamic

that we're talking about.

- What dynamic are you talking about?

- Glad you asked.

Our going to a party of this kind

is more a form of youth outreach.

- Of what?

- Youth outreach.

lt's not just some moronic

frat-house social function.

Though it will be that too.

We've gotta keep in mind

that these guys are young people.

They're essentially immature

and crying out for help and guidance.

- Though they don't know it.

- No, they don't, but we do.

- Aren't they the same age as we are?

- Only numerically.

l'm a lot fatter than you are,

but l think we could pin it.

Oh, my gosh, that's beautiful.


Take Frank, my friend.

He's not some cool, handsome,

studly macho type.

No, not at all.

l can't stand guys like that.

He's more of a sad sack really,

wouldn't you say?

- Definitely.

- What is a sad sack?

A loser.

- You like losers?

- Very much so.

Do you know what's the major problem

in social life?


The tendency, widespread, to always

seek someone cooler than yourself.

lt's always a stretch.

Often a big stretch.

Why not find someone

who's inferior?

- Someone like Frank.

- Yes. lt's more rewarding.

And, in fact, quite reassuring.

You mean someone you can help,

not just thinking of yourself.

Yes, that's it, precisely. But without

the goody-goody implications.

Our aspirations are pretty basic.

Take a guy who hasn't realized

his full potential...

...or doesn't even have much...

...and then help him realize it

or find more.

There's enough material here

for a lifetime of social work.

What's really worrisome

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Whit Stillman

John Whitney "Whit" Stillman (born January 25, 1952) is an American writer-director known for his 1990 film Metropolitan, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the 1998 romantic drama The Last Days of Disco. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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