Metropolitan + Pauline at the Beach

Double feature: Though varying in refinement, “Metropolitan” and “Pauline at the Beach” are both earnest morality tales focusing on the romantic tribulations befalling a virtuous, bowl-cutted heroine.

The director of each film clearly establishes the uprightness of his heroine early on, then spends the rest of his movie testing it by surrounding her with a glibly amoral social circle whose members contort logic and language to justify their behavior.

With a combination of repetition and slight variation, both films allow you to fall into the rhythms of their characters’ days.  Each is evocative of the season in which it is set – with the restrained swish of a girl’s party dress under a wool coat, “Metropolitan” captures the snap and sparkle of winter festivities; “Pauline at the Beach” delivers the dense slap of a wet bathing suit against sandy skin.

As they conclude, both films make the point that growing up has a lot to do with turning down the volume of others’ rationalizations and shoring up trust in one’s own judgment.

For a marathon: To see both the adult version and an alter ego of “Metropolitan”‘s heroine, check out the similarly urbane “The Last Days of Disco.”

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “L.M.P.” and “Distal Zou” at Flickr)

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