In recent years, there has been a growing dialogue about the degree of empathy the average audience member can generate for a character with excessive economic means. The problems of the wealthy are seen as insignificant or unimportant because these people have the luxury of financial stability to focus on things that are not life or death scenarios. While some filmmakers seem utterly oblivious to the ivory tower their characters operate in, like Judd Apatow with “This Is 40,” Whit Stillman never lets a second pass without pointing out the utter absurdity of these people’s lifestyles. as well as the total pride they take from it. in them.
Stillman regular Taylor Nichols becomes the loudest spokesperson as Charlie, constantly espousing his theories about how the preppy class (or, as he likes to call it, the “Urban Upper Bourgeoisie”) has long been denigrated and misinterpreted. He also has a strong feeling that once the era of deb parties is over, they will be doomed to a life of misery and failure, as they have been completely shielded from the real problems of real life. Nichols executes this whole philosophy through a constant stutter, as if trying to convince himself of his own words just as much as his group of friends. He knows the idea that he’s going to end up in misery is ridiculous, but it’s his way of telling himself that the way he’s living right now is okay.
One would assume that Tom would be the one to excoriate the upper class, being the odd one out, but Stillman has just as much fun tearing up his hypocrisies as everyone else’s. It is about a young student who, without the slightest irony, claims that he is a socialist in the mold of the French philosopher Charles Fourier and will debate Audrey fervently about Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”, although that he only read literary reviews of the book and not the book itself. He’s just as elitist as everyone else at these parties, but he believes himself to be the revealer of the truth that sticks to the man. Chris Eigeman’s Nick is quick to point out that Tom was immediately willing to join this exclusive social circle, “Because he got an invitation.” Stillman has fun pushing everyone’s ideologies, and as someone who grew up in those social circles as the son of a politician, he knows very well where to poke convention without turning the characters into caricatures.