Mistress America

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A review of the 2015 movie "Mistress America"

This is a comedy-drama film, directed by Noah Baumbach and co-written by Baumbach and the film's star Greta Gerwig.  Set in present day New York City, eighteen year old student and aspiring author Tracy (played by Lola Kirke) is not enjoying her first semester at college, struggling both academically and socially, she is rejected by the university's literary society.  One night she heads out to meet Brooke (Gerwig) her thirty year old soon to be step-sister.  Tracy is fascinated by the free-spirited Brooke, and soon finds herself caught up in Brooke's impulsive, exciting lifestyle and crazy schemes.  

This is a very good film, but I saw it as more  light-hearted dramatic film than an out and out comedy.  It's not really a laugh out loud hilarious film.  It provides a fair few chuckles though and it's consistently entertaining.  Some may find the milieu of Manhattan hipsters not to their taste, but their are a few affecting moments about ageing and finding a place in the world, and their are some very funny jabs at writers and critics.  Greta Gerwig shines as Brooke, a character who is often not particularly likeable (she's feckless and rude), but Gerwig makes you care about her, giving her an air of brittle vulnerability and in the end making her seem almost heroic. Lola Kirke  is good as the quiet unhappy Tracy.    

 

 

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