The dynamic duo of Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig are back with another phenomenal film.
Noah Baumbach directed and co-wrote this film with Gerwig. The two have proved to be a potent combination after their last great movie together Frances Ha. With Mistress America, the two have hit another one way out of the park. The film follows Tracy, a shy college freshman at Barnard who has a bit of trouble fitting in, as she befriends and writes about her soon-to-be step sister Brooke, played by Greta Gerwig. Baumbach and Gerwig managed to create a great story fueled by interesting and real characters who don’t feel flimsy or thin, especially Gerwig’s character Brooke, whom the film revolves around.
What makes Gerwig’s character so refreshing is that she appears to be at all times your quintessential unreliable narrator who embellishes the truth beyond the truth. However, she never really lies to anyone, not even to herself. She isn’t exactly prone to self-sabotage either. She simply likes the beginning of things, and then gets bored and moves on to the next cool thing. The promise of a stable place to call home is one she loves to envision, but the curse of a stable place to call home is one she tries her best to avoid. Her story is a joy to watch unfold from beginning to end.
Gerwig has shown the true depths of her abilities in this film. She’s proved she can write as well as act flawlessly in dramatic and comedy scenes. She can come off as fun, witty, idiosyncratically bewildering, and all together wonderful to behold in her almost contradictory and goal-less drive, while still showing emotion and loss when another dream of hers is cut short. The role made especially for her fit like a glove. Lola Kirke was also fantastic and played wonderfully off Gerwig. Her deadpan delivery of jokes and comedic comments were done well. She comes off as awkward, lonely, and eager, and absolutely nails the role.
The directing was done right. Baumbach’s directing allowed for drama and comedy to seamlessly be sewn together in each scene, without one element taking away from another. He meticulously made sure every scene was perfect, using over fifty takes if necessary. The film is very well written, funny, and very nuanced. Everything down to the music was done well. You may even find yourself quoting parts of this movie, as it has several memorable lines. If you enjoy movies, especially well written, acted, and directed ones, then this is the movie for you.
Mistress America hits theaters August 14.