Posted Jul 08 2016

Maggie's Plan -This Movie Might Just About Rock - If We Knew What The Hell It Was

Dir: Rebecca Miller

Starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hwke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn

Rebecca Miller’s latest seems to at once fit into a familiar niche. It is the post Woody Allen, Upper West Side, New York intellectual indie comedy, lately the turf of Noah Baumbach and others. Hell, if you need any pointers – it has Greta Gerwig in it. Yes, it’s that kind of movie. But is it? Miller’s film feels at times so caught up in that milieu of a world where people seem only capable of intellectualising their every thought to the point of displaying no feeling, that the movie at times feel more like parody than genre. Is Miller adding to the form or sending it up? After 98 minutes of going along with it, you may well still be asking yourself the same question at the end.

Not that it’s not a fairly pleasant journey as Gerwig’s university worker tries to get pregnant by the sperm of a pickle magnate, before falling for troubled teacher, married man, and – yes, aspiring author - Hawke, who just can’t seem to get round to finishing that increasingly epic but destined for greatness novel. Hawke seems to have played this role so many times (both on film and in real life) that you can see why this movie leans towards self parody – even though the actor is once again tremendous in his man-child persona. Moore is more out of left field as Hawke’s wife, a great Dane with a cut glass generic Euro-accent. She’s very funny throughout, as the movie – and the film’s key relationships – move over a three year, life-defining period.

There’s a lot to like in Miller’s film. But if all it wants to be is a comedy, the writer-director is not as funny as she thinks she is. And if she’s as clever as she thinks she is – is she in some small way, looking down on her characters?



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