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.