Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2012. Pine District Pictures, RT Features, Scott Rudin Productions. Screenplay by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig. Cinematography by Sam Levy. Produced by Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub. Production Design by Sam Lisenco. Film Editing by Jennifer Lame. Golden Globe Awards 2013. Independent Spirit Awards 2013. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Noah Baumbach makes his first return to top form since his superb The Squid And The Whale in 2005 with this infectiously charming comedy that pays tribute to early Woody Allen and the French New Wave, but with the distinct flavor of seemingly improvised tragicomedy. Greta Gerwig is terrific as a young dancer living in Brooklyn and trying to get ahead not just in her career but in life; her one comfort is her best friend (Mickey Sumner) who throws Gerwig’s life in flux when she announces that she is ready to move on in life and marry the boyfriend that she has up until now not thought that much of. Our heroine suddenly finds herself desperate, for a place to live, a way to make money and, most importantly, to prove to everyone around her that she is actually happy despite the fact that her life is hanging by a thread. Moments of genuine tragedy and painful social awkwardness spike up scenes of fun, making for a film that never feels pretentious or calculated but always hits home. Even the black and white photography creates a lyrical poetry instead of seeming like arthouse posing, while the screenplay (which I would believe didn’t exist given how naturally the scenes play out) is exquisite.