Maggie’s Plan Screen 69 of 16 reviews

Maggie’s Plan

2015

Maggie’s Plan Poster
  • The film is beautifully written and directed by Rebecca Miller, beautifully acted by its all-star cast, and beautifully scored. It is full of little surprises that add to its sense of perfection. Kathleen Hanna, for instance, pops up as a Québécoise folkie doing Springsteen.

  • A plot summary does little justice to the film’s brilliant layering, innuendo, detailed digressions, and imaginatively drawn characters, each with memorable tics or other markings to flesh them out while retaining their singularity.

  • In its writing and direction, it couldn’t be more droll, satirically pointed and effortlessly accomplished. And its three lead performances are some of the best work these actors have ever done. Thoroughly pleasing and impressive on every level, it establishes Miller as a major talent, and should wow audiences both at the festival and when it goes into general release.

  • Writer-director Rebecca Miller's decisively shambolic setup takes a flying three-year leap early on, and the results play like a second love triangle: between Woody Allen's neurotic punchlines, Noah Baumbach's idiosyncratic intelligence, and Paul Mazursky's modern social dilemmas. The zingy voice is all Miller's, of course, but it helps that she's working with a brilliant ensemble cast.

  • The film itself doesn't live up to this clever plan, mainly because Miller is too fuzzy when she needed to be devastating... but Miller also has the rare and wondrous quality of liking all her characters, this being the kind of movie where a pickle entrepreneur gets a lovely line about having touched "a hem of the garment" that is mathematics.

  • In Maggie's Plan, a sweet-tempered if rambling romantic comedy by Rebecca Miller from a story by Karen Rinaldi, Gerwig demonstrates again that playing innocent doesn't mean playing stupid... At its best, Maggie's Plan shows genuine wit as a comedy of manners set among the peculiarly ill-defined "professions" that grow like moss between the cracks of the new economy, for want of a better term.

  • Miller's film has hints of Noah Baumbach's awkwardness (hard to avoid with Gerwig at this point) and Woody Allen-esque odes to New York. Trading Manhattan for Park Slope, the impressive cast both skewers and plays with the well-subsidized intelligentsia and their faults.

  • As a writer and director, Miller is at her best when she finds the shared wavelengths of her lead cast's divergent styles. Nonetheless, her sedate pacing renders that most manic of genres curiously inert, and for a film that regularly stops to showcase its three leads individually, no one gets to be truly memorable enough for Maggie's Plan to be anything other than a mildly amusing diversion.

  • +

    Sight & Sound: Nick James
    October 02, 2015 | November 2015 Issue (p. 17) | Toronto

    The trio fire off each other magnificently but by the end I was worrying about my own commitment to Gerwig. I love her, I really do, but I need a break – or was it just that tower-block existence fraying my nerves?

  • The film’s extreme over-usage of closeups and flat compositions may make it a perfect outing for the small screen, but it’s glaringly out of place amid the NYFF’s Main Slate. The first half hour, with one-liners propped up on terms like “pickle entrepreneur” and “ficto-critical anthropology,” had my toes inching toward the exit, but once Miller discarded tired New York clichés for her principal characters, I relaxed into the rare feminine explication of a middle-aged love triangle.

  • For better or worse, the film never apologizes for staying true to this thorny process. It remains content to skip over the salacious parts of Maggie's schemes to revel in the long, messy aftermath.

  • The romantic roundelay is cleverly constructed but it doesn’t come alive in action, symbol, or image; it’s a mere mechanism that’s adorned solely by the actors’ lively performances. Gerwig’s vocal inflections are consistently inspired, and Moore seems to be having a ball delivering chilly intellectual affectations in a Danish accent, but it’s whimsy in a void: the characters have little connection, motivation, context, or substance.

  • Never got on this film's comic wavelength, don't really have anything to say about it. It mostly just tosses wacky ideas (pickle magnate as sperm donor) and made-up jargon ("ficto-critical anthropology") into a barely-there farcical narrative and hopes amusement will ensue.

  • There are less entertaining propositions, I suppose, but starting with Gerwig’s oddly somnolent performance, everything here is so safely soft and foam-coated as to muffle the intended funniness... It’d be nice to say that these fine actors are better than their material, but I’m guessing that they—like Gerwig and their director—think that Maggie’s Plan is in fact a poised rejoinder to empty, accessible rom-com clichés. They’re incorrect.

  • Starring Ethan Hawke, Greta Gerwig out-ditzing herself something rotten. Worth seeing only for a funny Julianne Moore (with Swedish accent). Otherwise - don’t get me started.

  • Structurally, this is classic screwball material, and Maggie’s doomed-to-fail-but-also-kinda-succeed solution should be a hoot to watch unfold. Unfortunately it is not, and the reasons for this are almost too many to track. For starters, the film just isn’t very funny. The dialogue lacks snap and freshness, relying on stereotypes, received wisdom, and ripped-from-the-thinkpiece-headlines in lieu of any discernible comedic voice.

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