Damsels In Distress film review: Forget damsels, this left me in distress

Forget damsels, this left me in distress



00:21 GMT, 27 April 2012


Verdict: Unsaveable

Whit Stillman shows with this film why he has found it so hard to find
funding for the past 13 years. It’s about four female college students
who dedicate themselves to saving their peers from suicide.

has fun puncturing the girls’ naive certainties about life, love and
men, and it does contain some dazzling dialogue; there’s a treasurable
conversation about the correct plural for the word ‘doofus’.

The film leaves much to be desired as it focuses on the lives of 13-year-old girls

The film leaves much to be desired as it focuses on the lives of college students

none of it is remotely lifelike. Its determination to be cute and its
utterly insufferable characters become painful.

the attempt to bring the rambling proceedings to a halt with a couple
of dance numbers is desperate, not least because hardly any of the
characters can dance.

The film is pedantic and leaden-footed, and — instead of being light as a feather — falls as flat as an over-cooked souffle.


Beware these savage cats

Verdict: Far from fluffy family entertainment

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Sita and her cubs on termite mound in African cats

However, there’s no attempt to disguise the fact that big cats are carnivores feeding on other creatures. It’s strong meat for a Disney film, and I would question its U rating. It should be a PG.

Far from peddling the usual Disney family values, it pursues a surprisingly hardline feminist agenda.

Male cheetahs apparently play no part in child rearing, unlike those proud, attentive fathers in March Of The Penguins.

Male lions are, on this evidence, gangsters and rapists. Lionesses do the hunting, fight the males off if possible and, if they fail, bear cubs for the strongest.

This may be true, but you may want to think twice before exposing your children to this savage vision of the battle of the sexes.

Alternatively, you may think the time has come for your child to learn these far from comforting facts. It’s up to you, but be forewarned. This film is anything but cosy and cuddly. It’s red in tooth and claw.


Hoskins & Co's jokes stink out the cinema

Bob Hoskins treads in horse muck

Bob Hoskins treads in horse muck

Verdict: Definitely not worth a punt

Sacha Bennett's pitifully naive film is aptly named, though an even more accurate title would be Non-Runner.

It is a dreadful, laugh-free British comedy about print-workers who club together in the Eighties to buy a racehorse.

Since they are played by actors as solid as Phil Davis and Bob Hoskins, you might hope you’re in for a heart-warming Ealing-style comedy, but deadly dialogue, cliched characters and talentless direction mean this one falls at the first jump.

Bennett’s ham-fisted attempts to get you on the side of dodgy print union working practices are particularly cringeworthy and have the unintended effect of making one feel a twinge of human sympathy for Rupert Murdoch.

The big running joke is that the actors keep treading in horse manure.

Sadly, that’s an accurate metaphor for the whole enterprise.