"Damsels in Distress" a Toe-Tapping College-Girl Fantasy

Megalyn Echikunwoke as Rose, Carrie MacLemore as Heather, Greta Gerwig as Violet and Analeigh Tipton as Lily in Damsels in Distress.
Sabrina Lantos

On her first day at Seven Oaks College, transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) is scooped up by a trio of prepossessed coeds who school her on campus culture and their own oddly refined sensibilities. Cardigan-clad ringleader Violet (Greta Gerwig), prim Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), and petite Heather (Carrie MacLemore) preach the virtues of good hygiene, dating less-intelligent boys, and suicide prevention via the restorative potential of tap dancing. Lily serves as our disoriented guide — and increasingly emboldened voice of reason — through this refracted, artificial world. Yet while she's a more relatable Everygirl, it is anachronistic, hopelessly romantic, impeccably mannered Violet who prevails as the heroine. When her mouth-breathing boyfriend ditches her for a more sexually aggressive gal, she falls apart almost as a matter of decorum. Her bounce-back? Hope for a new, self-authored dance craze called the sambola. Dancing breaks just because, and all the cardigans and brass-buttoned blazers in the world can't cloak that kind of eccentricity.

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