Whit Stillman made a Woody Allen inspired, talky, independent splash with this surprisingly engaging and clever film. Chris Eigeman is a revelation as a member of the elite upper class young people, or “urban haute bourgeoisie” as one of the pontificating characters labels his group of friends.
Metropolitan takes place over the winter holiday debutante season in Manhattan as these privileged, over educated preppies bounce from luxurious Upper East Side apartment, to luxurious Upper East Side apartment, to the 21 Club and The Plaza, having one inane, intellectual conversation after another.
When an Upper West Sider accidentally falls in with them, hearts are broken, friendships are made and abandoned. This is exactly the kind of movie that, based on the trailer and what I'd read about it, seemed totally unwatchable, and it easily could have gone into obnoxious territory if it weren't for the exceptional screenplay, and the over all care and integrity of everyone involved.
Criterion Collection has made yet another wise decision in the nicely designed release of this exemplary independent forerunner. Stillman went on to make Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, two other great movies about decadent young things. Neither of his other projects, one a film based on the autobiography of a Chinese girl during Mao's reign and a big screen adaptation of the Chris Buckley novel, Little Green Men, has been completed yet. But I, along with his small selective group of fans, will be thrilled to have him back.