Mistress America Screen 24 articles

Mistress America

2015

Mistress America Poster
  • "Stop talking about Twitter! It's so awkward!" Soooo awkward. I think it boils down to screwball comedy being an uneasy bedfellow with the Age of Irony. Counterpoint: Broad City, but those girls' sheer earnestness broadsides irony. The earnestness here was spotty. I couldn't tap into the rhythm at any point. Sad story emoji.

  • Brooke’s disaster-prone air is attractive, both to Tracy and us, because of the sheer charisma of Gerwig – she’s bossier, and pretends to be surer of herself, but there’s no floor under Brooke to support all these projects she’s dreaming up. You can see why Tracy wants to make her the tragicomic heroine of her newest literary effort, but she holds on to this as a dirty little secret, and the film starts to buckle, at the halfway point, from the weight of carrying it around.

  • What Baumbach has in fact produced is a character, and a film, that provokes feelings of pity and superiority, a cringe factor, along with a concomitant desire to protect the poor benighted thing. An urban mediocrity-puppy.

  • In Mistress, the quintessential open-faced Gerwig clumsiness is replaced by a yuppie, cocky veneer that makes it all the more desperate when she slowly lets her self-awareness seep out. Though accurate and welcome, the Tracy-Brooke bond is not as deeply felt as Frances and Sophie’s, but Baumbach and Gerwig still manage to fuse emotion with farce, forging a screwball that is as at times as multivalent as any mentor-protege relationship.

  • While Gerwig and Baumbach have written Brooke plenty of zingy one-liners, however, there’s a strident, labored quality to the film’s early scenes—a sense that everyone’s trying way too hard... Once the dramatis personae are gathered in the same house, Mistress America goes full-bore screwball, and the overexertion that had previously felt slightly off suddenly works in the movie's favor.

  • Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America is wobbly and straining early on but comes around once its evolves into a delirious screwball comedy.

  • As was the case with While We’re Young, Baumbach had me for ¾’s of the running time. Great comic rhythm, sharp dialogue, with performances by Gerwig, Kirke, et al to match. Then he goes for emotive summing-up with a side-slather of malaise and I don’t believe any of it. (I do, however, believe these gals would spend Thanksgiving at Veselka.) One-note hermetic narcissism is Baumbach’s thing. I’d like him to just keep tappin’ that gas.

  • The actresses work astonishingly well as a duo, making sure to betray a sweetness and an earnestness the film's dense script doesn't leave much space for. Their conversations become strange little chess matches, one talking past the other just as they're calibrating quips and confessions for maximum impact.

  • It's a funny film, but one of those funny films where your brain will be telling you that what you're watching is funny, but will refuse to fire the synapses that would duly evoke a physical response. It offers a brand of humour that results in an internal gesture of wry acknowledgement rather than actual honest-to-goodness laughing.

  • Because the movie rattles past at a sharp clip (it’s a lean 84 minutes), it pulls along a raft of ideas that, like Brooke’s madcap schemes, aren’t always followed through. Generational envy between the different tiers of youth and the nagging fear of having missed the boat are left hanging.

  • "Mistress America" is a very funny and observant movie, albeit squirm-inducing, with endlessly quotable dialogue. "X doesn't roll like that," Brooke tells a student that she's tutoring in math, "because X can't be pinned down." The movie starts to crater as soon as Brooke and Tracy and company end up at the fantastically beautiful modernist house where Dylan and Mamie Clare live.

  • Even if the film builds to a shrug, Baumbach is working at an increasingly sophisticated craft and dialogue level from moment to moment. Endless amounts of near-uniformly quotable dialogue come out at a clip only a shorthand writer could keep pace with. Respites are rare, but that doesn’t mean shot composition and movement haven’t been carefully considered.

  • Mistress America is knowingly erudite in a way that a certain bracket of American cinema is unashamed to be – take Alex Ross Perry’s recent bookish Listen Up Philip or Josh Radnor’s 2012 campus-set Liberal Arts. Some viewers may find Baumbach and Gerwig’s humour here insufferably pretentious – but that’s the risk with comedies that skewer their characters’ pretensions.

  • For anyone who’s wondered how one of Luis Buñuel’s bourgeois farces might go in English, it’s probably something like these scenes in Connecticut. This American version is comparably restrained. No one dies, for instance. This is Baumbach and Gerwig’s third film together. To quote Tracy to Tony: This new movie’s “just the same in another direction” — with much funnier dialogue and evocative electronic music by Wareham and Britta Phillips.

  • In “While We’re Young,” Baumbach satirized the idea of a 40-something director trying to get in touch with the youth of today. But with “Frances Ha” and now “Mistress America,” Baumbach has managed to pull off that very trick. Like one of his own filmmaking idols, Eric Rohmer, he seems to have remained very much an adolescent at heart, and he’s one of the few American filmmakers to embrace young people in all of their amorphous identity.

  • Mistress America brilliantly depicts how Brooke becomes a character of fiction in Tracy’s budding writing career.

  • [It's a] must-see in and of itself — a comic delight about college and sisters peppered with too many hilarious lines to count.

  • Mistress America is above all else a movie about the kind of friendship between two women that, despite its brevity, will reverberate for years. Gerwig and Kirke’s performances go beyond words and gestures, making us aware of the characters’ inner fantasies of self and other. The movie is unimaginable without them.

  • The lapidary one-liners of a Baumbach film always help in putting hilarious captions on character and action, but more than ever it’s the moxie of Gerwig, who wrote the screenplay with Baumbach, that pushes through a wonderfully unpredictable personality that’s at once familiar and strange, a striver for whom the film is constantly and fascinatingly selecting its cues on how to view her.

  • What fuels the movie’s engine is the mercurial chemistry between its characters. Mistress America is as precisely staged and written as prime Thirties screwball comedy, but it’s as emotionally risky as an Altman film like M*A*S*H. Even when characters declare who they are, their identities are subject to change.

  • The crescendo proceeds as expected but the joy lies in the orchestration. Baumbach times his choreographed comic collisions with the snap and crackle of vintage Hollywood farce, with Gerwig as the gloriously humanising centre of the chaos — she’s as magnetic when mugging through an impromptu rock number as she is when the mask finally drops.

  • Like While We’re Young, Baumbach’s latest seems to be a film of low stakes and minor ambition, yet its execution is far more satisfying. With almost endlessly quotable dialogue, two truly winning lead performances and an energetic score, Mistress America is yet another comedic triumph from the creative partnership of Baumbach and Gerwig.

  • It isn't merely about literature; it's a work of brilliant writing, one of the most exquisite of recent screenplays. While watching the film, I wanted to transcribe the dialogue in real time for the pleasure of reading it afterward (and I hope that the screenplay, which Gerwig and Baumbach co-wrote, will be published as a book). The center of its writerly wonder is Brooke's wild verbal whimsy.

  • "I need someone I can love, not keep up with." Baumbach and/or Gerwig may be in the second category, though in fact they're hard to keep up with - too fast, too neurotically brittle, racing through scenes in witty shorthand - but even harder to love, in any case (not that they care, or maybe they do). Not a satire, like Frances Ha, but a farce, a congenial genre for this director because it translates into various self-absorbed people lost in their respective obsessions.

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