June 9, 2016

SCREEN | All That She Wants – 'Maggie's Plan' of Errors

Greta Gerwig Ethan Hawke Rebecca Miller | Maggie's Plan

Maggie's Plan is a very charming New York comedy about over educated (and very white) adults navigating their own complex feelings about marriage, parenthood, and divorce. Written and directed by Rebecca Miller based on a story by Karen Rinaldi, the film stars indie darling Greta Gerwig as an independent woman planning for single motherhood when she meets a very married professor and novelist in Ethan Hawke.

Comedy ensues as Gerwig and Hawke's characters, the titular Maggie and John, slowly fall in love over shared mutual interests. Enter Julianne Moore as the meddling Georgette, John's estrange (ex-)wife. She inexplicably plays a broadly comic and manic Danish intellectual of some sort with many ticks and foibles.

Maggie and John eventually get together, but the honeymoon quickly fades as her own constant need to plan her own path, be a loving mother, and penchant for avoiding relationship troubles entangles her further into a love triangle as Georgette comes back into the picture along with her two kids with John to comically complicate matters.

Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph dutifully play Maggie's married best friends entering in for additional comic relief, exposition, and to serve elements of the screwball type comedy. Hawke plays it mostly serious and straightforward as first a lovelorn puppy dog and then a massively self-involved, narcissistic father more concerned with his own intellectual pursuits and novel writing.

Maggie's Plan is a light but pleasing comedy of errors, despite its somewhat far-fetched and unbelievable relationship plot, anchored by Gerwig's variation of her usual winning performance played against Hawke's earnest demeanour and Moore's hilariously offbeat deadpan character. Miller's cast lifts and executes her comedic material just so to balance the stakes of all the relationship drama at hand rather deftly.

More | YVArcadeAV Club / Vulture

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