The Last Days of Disco
- rated - Simmering
The Last Days of Disco is a very satisfying film. It has wit, Whit
(Stillman, the director), style (believe it or not, there was some
evidence of style in the disco era - not everyone looked ridiculous),
and heart. And it has two very talented women in the leading roles -
Kate Beckinsale (whom I was lucky enough to see in a West End play a
few years ago) and Chloe Sevigny (who is a real talent, attractive but
not sterotypically beautiful - and quite refreshing).
There's a lot of chat in this film, but that's OK because there's a lot
going on in the hearts and minds of these characters. I loved the way
that Stillman has really got into the minds of the two women - they're
very real and all-too-believable. The men are not a well delineated
this time round: you can get a bit confused about them. But I was very
pleased to see on the screen Whitman's honest insights about how men
can label a woman as "easy" or "a slut" on almost no evidence.
For those of us who don't live in Manhattan, it is intriguing to watch
another of Whitman's anthropological and historical dissections of
yuppie society there. One of the characters says words to the effect of
"Since when is 'yuppie' an insult? I thought it was a good thing to be
young, upwardly-mobile and a professional?" Have we forgotten that?
Stillman seems to be telling us - don't write off this whole era.
People lived there, and things were changing then. It wasn't all
glitter and a pumping bass-line. We were growing up, becoming adults,
making mistakes and learning to live with the results. We had to learn
how to deal with success and to accept failure. Youth was fast
receding, and responsibilities were looming large. Whitman's elegant
film gives us the chance to reflect on those issues, but at the same
time gives us the chance to indulge in a little nostalgia and have a
lot of laughs.