American Men are easily pushed around by women. They love sad stories.
The Very Pretty American Girl believes that she is the girlfriend of a French writer, only to be kicked out as soon as he leaves to travel and sublets his apartment to someone else. But at least the upstairs closet he moves her into to wait for his return has a sink. This is Aubrey. Or is it Audrey? No, it is Aubrey. “Isn’t that a boy’s name?” she is asked. “Sometimes.” She is from the South, where people “have roots.”
Jimmy The Hopeless Romantic spends a lot of time watching and listening. He considers any and all suggestions.
The Gold Coat Girl is a pretty blond. She considers our protagonists to be losers, from “Albuquerque” or somewhere like that. These are not the sort of men one travels to Paris to meet. So, does she date only Parisian men? Never.
The Cliché Ex-Pat has dated and been dumped by a French girl well over 15 times but he is easily identified the moment he sets foot in a café. One need only ask to speak to the American.
Fritz is “kind of scary” but turns out actually to be flighty and quite pleasant.
The Heartbreaker is at every party surrounded by beautiful girls. The Heartbreaker looks back and whispers to his companion as our protagonists murmur amongst themselves about his glamour, “See those guys? They are everywhere. Always with very pretty girls.” Aubrey doesn’t know it, but he considers her superb.
The Italiano has a bad reputation and invites drug dealers to Fritz’s party. He is not well regarded in Paris.
The Angel is taken to be a beautiful blonde Frenchwoman who, when asked in French where she is from, replies “Vancouver.” The naïve reply, “Ah, Vancouver, France?”
Who are the people underneath all the clever labels? What does it mean to be an urbane citizen of the world? These are the questions that director Whit Stillman would have us ponder in his new television show, The Cosmopolitans. The pilot is now streaming exclusively at Amazon for our consideration. If we like it well enough and make our preference known, the show will be picked up for more episodes.
The Cosmopolitans at first glance appears to be merely a show about upper class glitterati going to fancy parties and making witty conversation. Indeed, there is a veneer of whimsicality to the show, as with all of Stillman’s work to date. However, this is the whimsicality of The Great Gatsby, a frantic attempt to find the meaning of life, friendship, and happiness. It is amusing, but it is no lark.
Questions of identity pervade the story from start to finish. “I have visions of many things…” hums the opening song from the mostly-Motown soundtrack. The song appears later and reminds Hans The Cliché Ex-Pat of his lost love. To the same tune, Aubrey wanders the streets alone until randomly finding herself at a café as Hans and Jimmy encounter the Gold Coat Girl, Vicky:
“You haven’t gone back to…”
“no no no we live here, we’re Parisians!”
Living in Paris is difficult because when everyone leaves in the summer, a loneliness sets in that is akin to teenage angst, a loneliness that leaves a person with no distractions to avoid confronting the meaning and purpose of their lives. Hans explains that it is “The feeling of being hallowed out, a void inside that will never be filled.” How do you get out of a lonely patch? “They say all you need is one friend.” Are any of these people true friends? Or is it merely a fling? On a late Saturday night, a coy smile spreads across Aubrey’s face on the cab ride home from a party. Perhaps this is the beginning of something grand…
But only if we watch and vote!
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Random lines of dialogue I found amusing:
“When you have a serious breakup it helps to put the Atlantic Ocean between you.” “What about the Pacific?” “I don’t know. I haven’t tried it.”
“Have you ever thought about getting a rabbit?” “No, but I will.”
“In Hal’s defense, the first 15 breakups or so were because he wasn’t as close as she wanted him to be.”
“I’ve been here 6 months.” “Oh, so you’re not Parisian. That takes time.”
“He breaks hearts? That’s terrible.” “It really just means Playboy.” “That’s not good either.”
”I couldn’t just plunge into some decadent affair.” “It doesn’t have to be decadent. You could go hiking.”
Bonus Whit Stillman from his movie Last Days of Disco!!!