“Disco will never be over. It will always live in our hearts and minds.”
Directed by Whit Stillman (1998) Starring: Chloe Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Eigeman, Matt Keeslar
Rounding off Stillman’s Yuppie Trio is a film about the end of an era from the point of view of two assistants at a publishing company. Charlotte (Beckinsale) and Alice (Sevigny) spend their time at their favorite club, where they dance and judge what relationships they would get out of the men they meet. Their dialogue is often caustic and witty and they only ever seem to imagine hope when they talk about beloved disco.
Of their prospective suitors, Alice has the highest optimism and the worst luck. She loses her virginity to Tom (Robert Sean Leonard) and gains two venereal diseases. After that she bounces between Des (Eigeman) who is something of a cocaine addict and womanizer and Josh (Keeslar) who is very nice, but has a history of mental illness. Her optimism also gets crushed a little as she lives with Charlotte in a Railroad apartment.
The third act moves from the female perspective to the men’s side, which makes it feel like Alice and Charlotte are left hanging for awhile. Des’s club is involved in illegal activity of some sort, although he points out that he knows next to nothing about it. Josh’s office is the ADA who is planning to prosecute, but his interest in Alice makes things complicated. Paralleling that is the fact that no one really likes disco anymore, except for this small group of people.
The Last Days of Disco is unexpectedly charming and funny as it goes over the social mores from a generation ago, while young people make desperate attempts to climb the social ladder and still enjoy themselves for one night a week. What I loved was that it championed optimism after all, even after disco was dead.