Watch Metroland

"It's not a place, it's a state of mind."
  • R
  • 1997
  • 6.3  (3,587)
  • 53

Metroland, a 1997 British film, is an exploration of one man's journey of self-discovery and reflection. The movie is set in the mid-1970s in middle-class suburban West London, telling the story of two friends, Chris (played by Christian Bale) and Tony (played by Lee Ross), who share an apartment in Metroland or a part of London served by the suburban railway called Metropolitan. They both work dead-end jobs and have the usual preoccupations of young people in their early twenties.

Chris, who married Marion (played by Emily Watson), had left his hometown of London for Paris soon after getting married. One day Tony turns up unexpectedly and interrupts his perfect life in France, as he tries to talk him out of going back home to Metroland. This significant event triggers Chris to reflect on his past, his choices, and his future, as well as opening up his eyes to the possibilities and limitations of typical suburban life.

Throughout the movie, there are numerous long flashbacks, mainly to Chris and Tony's earlier years in Metroland, providing insight into the characters' pasts and what ultimately led them to make the decisions they did. The flashbacks reveal how Chris was once a rebellious, free-spirited young man who wanted nothing more than to leave the monotony of suburban life behind, but instead he fell back into the same fabricated surroundings he fought so hard to escape. Meanwhile, Tony, who had always been content with his life in Metroland, struggled with the idea of settling down as the world around him began to change.

The outstanding acting by Bale, Ross, and Watson captures the mood of Metroland beautifully, showcasing the hopes, dreams, regrets, and frustrations of the human condition. Bale is impeccable in his portrayal of a man who has a deep yearning for something more than the limited life he has in Metroland. Ross, as Tony, exudes a certain contentment with life in the suburbs but is also contemplative about the decisions he has made. Watson's character Marion digs at Chris' insecurities, poking at deviations from their perfect life while attempting to draw him back from his own self-realization.

Director Philip Saville does a fantastic job of setting the scene and capturing the essence of Metroland: its monotonous existence, narrowness, and predictability. The audience can feel the limitations imposed by living in a typical British suburban area, with the social norms of the time and existing positions inhibiting and even stunting ambition. The conversations, reactions, and expressions of the characters are all appropriate to the setting, making the movie feel like a snapshot of life in suburban London in the mid-1970s.

Overall, Metroland is a thought-provoking, introspective movie that delves deep into the motivations and aspirations of the human heart. The flashbacks are an integral part of the storyline, providing context and explanations for the characters' choices and behavior. While it can be argued that there's an element of nostalgia in understanding the lives of the residents of Metroland and their daily struggles, Saville strives to present a realistic picture of what life was like in suburban England during the 1970s. Bale's riveting performance and Ross' intensity complement each other perfectly, providing a captivating exploration of suburban ennui.

In conclusion, Metroland is a film that explores the limitations of suburban life, the expectations of conformity and the possibilities of self-discovery. It is an intelligent, compelling movie that provides a snapshot of life in suburban Britain in the mid-1970s, with strong performances by its lead cast members. Saville's direction highlights the nuances and subtleties of life in Metroland, projecting a realistic sense of the boredom and limited expectations of young people in suburban settings. It is a film to be savored for its thoughtful exploration of character, motivation, and self-realization.

Metroland is a 1997 comedy. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 53.

Where to Watch Metroland
Metroland is available to watch free on Peacock, Vudu Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Starz, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Metroland for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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  • MPAA Rating
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  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (3,587)
  • Metascore