One might think of Whit Stillman’s minor hit debut as the uptown, Eastside answer to Richard Linklater’s Slacker, which was also released in 1990. Between them they set the template for many a late-century indie: a loose and unfocused narrative peopled by an array of flawed characters discussing life, love, inclusion and exclusion, human existence and God.
The plot ostensibly concerns our sort-of-hero, Tom Townsend (Edward Clements), as he attends a series of preppy parties in various posh apartments in Manhattan. But Tom can’t share a taxi home with the others. He is – gasp! – a “Westsider”, which to a UK audience means he’s not quite as ridiculously wealthy as his friends. This isn’t a late-teen friendship group we normally see on screen. Remember that brilliant tennis club scene in Trading Places?