Director and screenwriter Noah Baumbach has teamed up quite nicely with co-leading lady Greta Gerwig to write the screenplay for Mistress America and you can tell she had a major influence over him with the style of comedy that materialises.
Brooke, played by Gerwig, is a narcissistic manic-depressive who takes Tracy (Lola Kirke), a budding young writer and her soon to be stepsister under her wing when she arrives in town for college. Lola who has a hard time fitting in at college and trying her hardest to get into an exclusive “literary” club instantly bonds with her future step-sister and becomes just a bit obsessed, following her around like a lost little puppy but also taking the opportunity to pull on Brooke’s life experiences to write her story which wins her a place in the exclusive club.
Even though Tracy is so smitten with Brooke she also sees Brooke’s interesting character as an opportunity for a winning story but this all comes back to bite Tracy in the ass in the big finale. Set in the home of Brooke’s rich ex-fiancé’s house, who just so happens to now be married to Brooke’s ex-best friend. She goes begging for money to finance her dream of opening her restaurant. Brooke drags along Tracy for moral support, but we also see Tracy’s best friend, his jealous girlfriend dragged along too. Throw into the mix a couple of randoms that seem to be part of the fixture and fittings at the house. When Brooke is handed the story Tracy has been writing, their relationship turns sour. It does, however, force Brooke into looking at herself and re-evaluating.
The setting’s, the overly chatty dialogue, everything just seems slightly bizarre for a film, in fact the whole film really feels like it could have been made for the stage and been a bigger hit with the audience.
Mistress America is extremely dialogue heavy, it really doesn’t matter in which locations these characters may be, it’s not really that important to the film, well apart from the restaurant come community centre Brooke so desperately wants to open up but needs funding for. The film is really all about the characters and Brookes constant babbling on about her own life and a tangent to keep changing the subject mid-sentence can leave you at times a little frustrated as you try to keep up.
Mistress America reminded me a lot of a Woody Allen film for the modern 30 something’s, Brooke’s refusal to accept her age and finally grow up hits close to home of our modern generation. Funny and entertaining even if a little lacklustre it’s still an entrancing watch.
Mistress America is out in UK Cinemas on the 14th August.