Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The "Mistress America" Promises the Delightful Return of Gerwig and Baumbach

Left to right: Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke
Director Noah Baumbach is already looking to have a great 2015. Following the highly enjoyable Frances Ha in 2013, he has already released While We're Young: a look at how generations relate to each other. It was funny, insightful, and showed the director finding his niche as a filmmaker. With the trailer for his next film of the year, Mistress America, he teams up with the writer and star Greta Gerwig, who made the 2013 comedy such a big hit. Along with the prospect of more lightning in a bottle chemistry, is there any chance that we'll be seeing another great female-lead comedy in the cards? From the looks of it, yes.

To summarize an opinion that I haven't widely expressed: Frances Ha is one of my all time favorite movies. While I have always given it positive reviews, it wasn't until home video when I rewatched a few times that my love of the film managed to deepen. I love Gerwig's nuanced performance and the clever use of music and French New Wave techniques to alter the coming of age story. It is short and sweet in ways that I haven't necessarily felt from Baumbach in the past and while I really liked While We're Young, I don't find nearly the same immediacy to it. In fact, I am holding out high hopes for Mistress America because of my love of Frances Ha. The real question is if this will pay off.

Joining the team is Lola Kirke, who may best be known as Jemima Kirke's (Girls) sister. However, she also starred in the poorly promoted but still enjoyable Mozart in the Jungle; an Amazon series released during the last week of 2014 and thus was unable to break from the press of year-end retrospectives and the fledgling service's breakthrough Transparent. She is enjoyable and has a promising career, even if she still needs time to establish herself. I can only hope that with Mistress America that it will be serviceable material to emphasize why she is so much fun. 

Here's the trailer:

Looks pretty good. For those who need more of a description, here's the summary according to IMDB:
A lonely college freshman's life is turned upside down by her impetuous, adventurous soon-to-be stepsister.
I want to note that as with most of the trailers that I have been discussing, I don't actually feel like discussing its Oscar prospects just yet. Among all things, I don't feel that Baumbach's work has necessarily captured the co-linear zeitgeist since The Squid and the Whale. However, I still feel that he is a very interesting filmmaker that may be in his prime the same way that occasional collaborator Wes Anderson is. Both are making distinctive visions that are still massively entertaining. 

The one upside is that after this premiered at Sundance this past January, it received glowing reviews predominantly. Many would even consider it better than While We're Young. While the trailer gives a look at a film that will be highly enjoyable, it is possible that it could be misleading. Still, between Gerwig and Kirke's chemistry, it looks like we're in for an interesting ride. I am unsure if it could live up to my endearments towards Frances Ha, but we'll just have to wait and see.

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