Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2015. Fox Searchlight Pictures, RT Features. Screenplay by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig. Cinematography by Sam Levy. Produced by Noah Baumbach, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub. Music by Britta Phillips, Dean Wareham. Production Design by Sam Lisenco. Costume Design by Sarah Mae Burton. Film Editing by Jennifer Lame. Gotham Awards 2015.
Lola Kirke is attending college in New York City, struggling to enjoy the process of learning to be a writer in classes full of students who don’t inspire her much. Her mother is about to marry a man she met through online dating and convinces the young girl to become acquainted with her future stepfather’s daughter (Greta Gerwig). A spinning wheel of emotions who is far away from ever having a good perspective on her own behavior, Gerwig dazzles Kirke with her ability to move in and out of social situations with a bright smile and a constant flurry of witty observations, but as time progresses the younger woman begins to suspect that what she thought was a mercurial effervescence might just be a rootless desperation for meaning, while Gerwig’s plans to start her own restaurant might just be an immature pipe dream. It all comes to a head as it often does in a Noah Baumbach comedy, in the form of a road trip, in this case bringing Gerwig face to face with bad relationships of the past. Light, funny and smart, this one will be pleasing to fans of Frances Ha without toppling that delightful charmer: Gerwig does neurotic beautifully without ever being simplistically quirky, though the barrage of high energy expressions will be a bit too shrill for some audience members to stomach. The film reaches few moments of pathos that give foundation to its more comic moments, but it also avoids pat resolutions that try to resolve the complications of the rich characters it has created.