Metroland (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Chris is a 30ish middle class Brit who has drifted into a 1977 life very much like the one his parents led in the 50s and early 60s. He has a sensible wife, a baby, and a bourgeois suburban life. He is not especially happy or unhappy, but seems contented and just settled into the routine that we all seem to establish eventually.

This demi-paradise and other Eden is suddenly invaded by its own Satan in the form of an apparition from the past. An old friend named Tony shows up from Chris's late 60s' radical days. Tony has returned to England after a decade of Bohemian wanderings to find that Chris has settled into the exact world they used to make fun of. Chris has a house a mile from his parents, a long daily commute to a job he hates, a garden, and a Volvo. The friend tries to shake him up and return him to the vagabond life.

During the rest of the film, the script moves Chris back and forth among three places: his suburban nest, the sensuous temptations which Tony/Satan throws before him, and his memories of living in Paris with an older woman and dreaming of being a photographic artist and a boulevardier.

This is the sort of movie which, although a good movie in many ways, is difficult to enjoy if it doesn't relate in some direct way to your life.

Like Chris in this movie, I gave up the Bohemian life to build a nest very much like the one my parents had raised me in and, also like Chris, I was not without regrets about that. Because I could relate to the situations, I was therefore able to appreciate that the dialogue is crisp and witty, and that the characters are real. The script makes a sincere effort to examine Chris's motivations, and the path that led him back to suburbia. It can be thoughtful and touching, and is not a bad flick at all. If you were also an angst-ridden upper middle class product of late 60s radicalism, this may stir a lot of memories about the choices you had to make about the direction of your life.


  • Christian Bale shows everything in two sex and pre-sex scenes.
  • Emily Watson shows her breasts in the bathtub.
  • Elsa Zylberstein shows her breasts,
  • Amanda Ryan shows her breasts and buns, and a brief flash of her pubic area.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no widescreen

  • no meaningful features

If you can't specifically relate to this era, or these bourgeois problems, and/or if you would dislike a talky movie about a premature midlife crisis, then this is not the film for you. The exposition is fairly good, but the characters' epiphanies are all predictable and safe, so if the subject matter is not especially intriguing, and/or if you like a lot of action, you will find that this movie probably seems like your parents' dinner conversation about subjects you aren't interested in.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: two and a half stars. James Berardinelli 2.5/4, Roger Ebert 3/4.

The People Vote ...

  • Despite a handful of satisfactory reviews, including three stars from Roger Ebert, it languished virtually unreleased in the United States, receiving minimal distribution even by arthouse standards (12 screens).
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. Insightful, but talky and a film intended for a small target group rather than general mass audiences.

Return to the Movie House home page