Film critics and their disabilities

As my devoted readers will know, I have an interest in (OK, an obsession with) a couple of films, one of them being Metropolitan, a movie directed by Whit Stillman and starring Carolyn Farina.

In my study of this film I have been happy to read many fine and intelligent critical appreciations. However I have also been surprised by the number of dumb – there is no other word – mistakes some of the critics make. Do they pay attention? I realise that people – and I suppose I must include critics in the class of people – are often pressed for time. But such aggressively wrong and wrongheaded perceptions never cease to amaze me.

I shall probably expand this post with citations, but let me just list the mistakes I have come across in relation to just this one film, Metropolitan; remembering that this is an art film, or at least an independent film, which should attract critics who type out their reviews with fingers not covered in popcorn butter.

So, to itemise the errors by various critics:

1. No, Tom did NOT ask Audrey to dance the cha-cha with him. That was the point.

2. No, they were not dancing to Boogie Nights. It was a cha-cha. And they were not drunk, apart from Fred who was always drunk.

3. No, the young people at their dinner party were not trying to recreate James Joyce’s short story The Dead. (What?!)

4. Mr Critic, Tom and Audrey were a couple, finally, at the end of the movie. She chose Tom, whom she always liked. Did you fall asleep towards the end of the movie?

5. No, her little brother did not make fun of Audrey’s small bosom at the start of the film. He made fun of her supposedly large bottom.

6. No, Tom was not a junior academic. He was a student like most of the others.

7. Jane Austen, the famous novelist, whom Audrey and Tom discuss, had a surname spelt like that. If you are going to refer to her, twice, you should know that.

8. Jane Austen, the great novelist, not Lionel Trilling, the prominent literary critic, considered that the young people putting on a play (about adultery) in her novel Mansfield Park were being immoral.

9. No, the actress Carolyn Farina, who played Audrey Rouget in Metropolitan, was not discovered working at a perfume counter at Macy’s in New York. Nor did she have no prior interest in acting. She had taken acting classes and she answered a casting call in a trade paper. After the film was made at least, she did have a job at a costume jewelry counter at Macy’s.

10. Despite what Internet movie buffs say, this is not Carolyn Farina. It is Frances O’Connor, an Australian actress. And this is not Carolyn Farina. It is Domenica Scorsese, the director’s daughter.

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