Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mistress America (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

Baumbach-Gerwig Team Tailor Makes “Mistress America”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Talk about it being hard to please your parents, movie director-screenwriter Noah Baumbach has it bad. He’s the son of two film critics, Georgia Brown and Jonathan Baumbach.

Noah has given us “The Squid and the Whale,” “Frances Ha,” and “While We’re Young,” among other films.

His newest -- currently screening at Tropic Cinema -- is titled “Mistress America.” He co-wrote it
with actress Greta Gerwig, who also stars in the film. This is not their first waltz together. They have been in a relationship since 2011.

Here, Gerwig plays a flaky young woman who shakes up the life of her lonely college-girl almost-stepsister (Lola Kirke). Her sis-to-be says, “I'm so impressed by you and so worried for you at the same time.”

It’s a thoughtful screwball comedy.

Gerwig’s roots are in indie films, as are Noah Baumbach’s. She says, “Some of the independent movies that make money have a very specific thing that you can tell audiences they'll feel about it. ‘This will make you feel so happy.’ ‘This will make you feel something about your family’.”

What can you expect from “Mistress America”? Gerwig tells us it’s “a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing.”

The characters are not so likable, but they win you over nonetheless.

Variety says, “Greta Gerwig shines in a tailor-made role …” Well, of course she does. Didn’t we tell you she co-wrote it?

She says, “So much of writing is like baking a cake. I can't tell you where the sugar is.”

Maybe her impetuous, wacky character doesn’t have much sugar, but sometimes we find lemon twist can be quite tasty.

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