Saturday, January 23, 2016
MISTRESS AMERICA (2015)
Directed By: Noah Baumbach
Written By: Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig
Cinematography By: Sam Levy
Editor: Jennifer Lame
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Matthew Shear, Cindy Cheung, Michael Chernus, Heather Lind, Dean Wareham, Jasmine Chephas Jones, Kathryn Erbe,
Strangely a feel good film. That is a smarter nice, brisk modern screwball comedy. That isn't as busy as the typical one. Though moves around and Along.
Seems like it is about much more then it appears, but ends up being really slight to a degree. As It seems slight in some ways but deeper in characterization. Which has been a constant it seems in Baumbach's work.
The film revolves around a great comedic, yet marvelous character. Played by Greta Gerwig, only we have seen her play this type of character a few times. She does it well, though if you have followed her career it feels familiar.
Playing a character who is constantly reinventing herself and lies to herself to keep past and mistakes at bay, but while giving off this fabulous personality. Regales this close to her with tragedies. That you aren't quite sure if she is aware of it. As she also seems to run away from success. Believing she had all the time in the world to define herself. Though now that she is older is worried about her legacy and personal meaning. Though wants to be remembered well.
Lola Kirke is a welcome screen debut here . She has a smart innocent look. Though seems to have a world weariness in appearance, attitude and delivery. Giving us a wizened protagonist. Who is vulnerable and still a bit impressionable, especially when loneliness sets in. Who is attractive, but not yet comfortable or confident in her looks.
We get a hint of her past and little clues that she might be full of it or not as wondrous as she chooses to present herself. Though throughout you seem to constantly wonder if she believes what she says or does she know she is mostly putting on an act of wishful thinking. So your opinion might be like the other characters. Where it changes from scene to scene.
The cast is appealing and seem abnormally attractive. As also each character seems to be an intellectual and literate yet ridiculous.
The film manages to be subtle at times and obvious at others. All of the characters talks fast. Like in classic comedies so, so many joke gong and coming at once.
Jasmine Cephas Jones, Playing the jealous Nicolette as understandable, but also a bit over the top. Providing characters reasons for their behavior, not just as it is convenient. Set in a More upper class wasp atmosphere. At times it is hard to feel sympathy for the characters. Who you know will go on to success or be ok eventually. She is also one of the characters who I am glad to see add a little more acknowledgment of diversity in the cast.
The film plays with time. As so much happens, so fast. You forget that the time period of the film is only one semester. Sort of like the movie THIRTEEN where so much happens. You forget the age of the characters and how fast time has seemed to move. So once you are reminded towards the end, it hits hard.
Yet characters grow so quickly and take shape. Even though they are still finding their own identity and meaning. As his is the first time for responsibility for the younger ones and finding themselves and not fooling themselves. Their future is open, but his is the first pains of rejection. Where as the Older characters are expected to be adults and realize the limited time they have and feel like they haven't made their mark or nothing to be remembered for.
--The film reminds the audience that We all have that one of a kind friend, who is amazing, influential, inspiring. Who you aspire to be as brave. Even if you feel they are full of it or delusional time to time. which might be why Director Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig compared the film to John Hughes' films.
The film feels slight but as time passes and the more I think about it. The film seems to have more depth then it at first presents itself as having or dealing with. As usual it is a intellectual coming of age a little more styles in the way of comedy. Though that doesn't mean it doesn't still pack some strength Into it's jabs.
Of course it is easy to take the film at surface another privledged upper class girl who is trying to fit in and see's herself as more artistic. Looking to truly find herself. Now while I can't necessarily identify as some audience members will find themselves feeling. Doesn't mean it doesn't count. Even if we know she is destined for success of some kind. This is her finding her meaning and telling her story to tell stories. While finding her greatest inspiration.
The film moves so fast it's easy to forget that by the end of the movie only one season has actually passed. As it seems like the characters have k own each other longer. As well as so much time passing. So that we realize through the time spent how much impact some people can have in a short amount of time or realize this is only a snapshot and the characters still have their whole lives ahead of them. Sure it seems like major people in her life, but they might only be footnotes in the chapters of her life. Though presented as maybe a major early one.
Even with it's musical score the film feels timeless as the film does acknowledge modern technology and conveniences but also dismissed them quickly and refuses to revel in them. Along with a personable universal theme the film helps to feel timeless to a degree.
The film leaves the audience with plenty of absurdity that seems silly, but the. Again think of your days and how much of it if told to someone else might seem out of place or certain situation unbelievable unless you experienced it personally. Usually these are stories you tell your friends that you might have to embellish or censor for maximum entertainment.
The film feels like it has a certain depth, but doesn't feel as personal and freewheeling. Not as artsy and more constructed then his most noted film FRANCES HA. Maybe because this film feels like the most conventional of his work.
Noah Baumbach said that While We're Young and Mistress America are 'sort of siblings'.
Not to mention, this was his second film to come out in 2015. Right behind his other more star studded conventional middle aged generational comedy WHILE WE'RE YOUNG. That was similarly good and seemed to acknowledge the filmmaker getting older and his observations on it. Similarly to this film only from a feminine point of view.
What I enjoy about Noah Baumbach's films especially recently is that they never feel like they overstay their welcome.