The singularity of Greta Gerwig

Mistress America

Lola Kirke is a type, the one who is the dumpy sweater accountant, or the pleasant school teacher all the blue eyed boys have a crush on.
Greta Gerwig is of another kind. All the characters she plays have the tendencies she does, I suspect. They are inspired from her, after all. Noah Baumbach and his muse…
At the same time, it’s not just the name that gives a unique identity to them.
Which is why I refer to her characters in plural. They. Not She.
They are tidily disorganised, self centred, multi talented, and enterprising. Anything can happen with them, they live in their bubble of drama, but nothing ever really occurs in their daily lives to be truly worthy in the end. They are a sum of their parts, but never more than that.
What made Brooke different is that she can never follow through. She moves on, and on like an opinionated whale, gliding from one thing she really really really wants to the next thing she really really really wants. She hides behind her armour of self righteousness and shows herself in its chinks of floozy demeanour.
Even though I had her figured out, I was surprised by her sensitiveness. I related so much to her and Tracy. Tracy cannot be shaken from her belief for her pedestal-the self appointed High Priestess of Writing. She is good at it too. She is smart. Not at school subjects, but at understanding people and their way of working. That’s why she is genuinely confused and wants to know why the guy friend with the neurotic girlfriend doesn’t like her romantically. (He is jealous.)
Her expectations sink with the reality of not really meeting interesting people.
Bored and lost as she was, it is so easy to be taken in by the first entrancing whirlwind character. And of course I understood her pull to take real people and mould and shape and lick and taste their characteristics until they became her own characters. Taking in little pieces of them and their belongings and fitting them in her own work table to remind her of another note worthy dialogue.
It’s every writer’s way of working.
I did not understand why everyone was so upset and went into a sideways child/abortion/pseudo-feminism rant. Pseudo, mind you, because it was unnecessary, which I can only guess was a nod to the present atmosphere of general attack and weary over-awareness of false/unnecessary accusations over the simplicity of the word Feminism and what it pertains to.
I like random intellectual conversations thrown in with carelessness. I like weird sweeping declarations of an epiphany long thought, and now, put into words.
Therefore, of course, I loved this film.
I do wish there was a “A-ha!” scene like the Godfather quoting break up in Lola Versus. Or the heartbreaking drunk scene about friendship in Frances Ha. Or even the cowboy tap dance scene in Damsels in Distress.
They were delightful.
But in this one, I think Tracy’s montage of her college right in the beginning, and the transformation with the one night with Brooke could have come close.

Image Courtesy:Film Comment



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