Recently released in the US, Damsel follows the fortunes of a lovestruck pioneer named Samuel Alabaster (played by Robert Pattinson) as he travels the American frontier in order to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska). On his trek he’s accompanied by a miniature horse called Butterscotch, and a drunkard called Parson Henry (co-writer/director David Zellner). As ever, the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, and Samuel’s efforts suffer more setbacks than he’s prepared for.
It’s a Western with a slapstick sensibility, humorous and absurd in places, and sees Pattinson doing comedy for the first time, and by the look of the trailer, succeeding admirably. He’s matched by Wasikowska as the less-than-pleased-to-see-Alabaster Penelope, a role that she plays with “cantankerous” going all the way up to eleven. Created by brothers David and Nathan Zellner, Damsel looks like a less than serious take on the standard Western, and for that alone it deserves our attention. Quirky and ambitious, it’s the kind of movie that could offer a breath of fresh air when weighed against the majority of multiplex offerings foisted on us these days.