Mistress America

It was about this time 6 years ago when my mother went to her school’s Christmas party and the janitor brought a date who thought my mom would be perfect for her dad. Turns out, she was right, and now Jay has a new daddy.

*Not my actual family

*Not my actual family

That’s the condensed version, anyway. She has 4 kids, he has 2, and together they have 5 grandsons and 1 extremely imminent granddaughter. We have a weird blended family but those sweet grandkids have never known any different.

In Mistress America, two women make nice because their parents are about to marry. Tracy, a lonely college freshman (Lola Kirke) is Greta Gerwig shines as a scattered New Yorker in her new film Mistress Americathrilled to go along on the adventures of her impetuous 30-something soon to be step-sister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig). Sure she’s uneducated and unstable, but to an 18-year-old, that seems glamourous and free.

Greta Gerwig is a force of nature – like, that’s her permanent state. Is Gerwig her generation’s Diane Keaton? Or maybe she’s a little Indie queen and screwball comedienne Greta Gerwig co-writes new script with Noah Baumbachmore screwball than that? I can never quite put my finger on it, but she’s a gem and a star and man oh man I can never keep my eyes off her. Her performances feel free and unselfconscious, just totally unleashed and genuine. She has a physicality that I’m not used to with young actresses, a way of using the space, of filling up the screen without taking up all the room.

She co-wrote this script with director Noah Baumbach and the lines just keep zooming by; you can almost see the trail they’re blazing around the screen as they get launched by one character and hit their target. This is Baumbach’s funniest – and dare I say, most Film Review-Mistress Americaaccessible – work to date. It’s frenetic but feels more accomplished than his previous collaboration with Gerwig, Frances Ha.

The movie’s as flighty as its main character, but I was utterly charmed not just by the leads but by the entire cast, who lend the movie that feel of an older comedy, with randoms popping up with funny lines and disappearing again just as quickly, keeping us guessing, keeping us on our toes. It makes for an almost caffeinated ride, and it has left me wanting (needing?) more.

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12 thoughts on “Mistress America

    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, it is! She and Baumbach work so nicely together (Greenberg and Frances Ha are previous collabs) – which is good, since I believe they are “together.”

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  1. ridicuryder

    Jay,

    I saw this one a few months ago with a friend. We both laughed a couple of times in spots where it seemed no one else was. I would see this movie again, it was so quirky and strange…I’m sure I would get more and more out of it from subsequent viewings.

    RR

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    1. Jay Post author

      It’s definitely quirky, and yeah, it’s so fast-talking that you probably would get more out of it from a second viewing – and me as well! And if you laughed at the weird spots, then we’d probably get along.

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  2. reocochran

    I like the sound of this one, Jay. I will definitely keep my eyes on this, either at Redbox or the library. Mistress America has quirky characters and I love these type! 🙂

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