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Damsels in Distress is a 2012 comedy starring Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Adam Brody, Megalyn Echikunwoke & Carrie MacLemore. It was written and directed by Whit Stillman.

Violet (Gerwig), Rose (Echikunwoke) and Heather (MacLemore) are three students at an East Coast Ivy League university who feel it is their mission in life is to save their fellow students from themselves. They run a suicide prevention center, encourage hygiene and try and change the less intelligent and mature of the men on campus by dating them. When new student Lily (Tipton) arrives they eagerly take her under their wing and into their well meaning but eccentric crusade to make the world a better place.

Not to be confused with Distressed Damsel.


This film contains examples of:

  • Brainless Beauty: Heather is the most conventionally pretty of the girls and by far the dumbest.
  • Decoy Protagonist: At first it looks like Lily will be the main character but gradually it becomes clear that this is Violet's story.
  • The Ditz: Thor and Frank - the latter insists his eyes must be colourless rather than blue because if they were blue wouldn't everything he looks at be a shade of blue?
  • Fauxreigner: Rose is actually American but has been speaking with a cut glass English accent for a decade after a six week trip to London.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Violet, Rose, Heather, Lily.
  • Ivy League: Seven Oaks, the fictional university the story is set in.
  • The Pollyanna: Violet, in a weird very composed sort of way.
  • Proper Lady: Violet.
  • Sympathetic POV: The Damsels - an arrogant clique trying to shape their university to their way of thinking - would be the villains in most other movies but we get to know them and for all their eccentricity and flaws they are deeply lovable. Likewise the dimwitted jocks of the local fraternities are adorable goofs and characters who would normally be heroes in a university story - the editor of the college paper and a depressed goth girl come across as judgemental jerks.
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