WATCH AT HOME!
Film Bitch History
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

 

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

What will & should win Best Comedy at the Emmys?

"If Veep wins I won’t complain. Really smart series that ended on a perfect note." - Lucky

"Russian Doll is probably the most affecting show I watched over the last year. It's brilliant and I love it - but as you say, its format and its tone is not at all friendly to it winning this. I" - ScottC

"Fleabag: Exhilarating, high wire stuff. Any episode is a masterclass of writing." -Arkaan

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

Interviews

Directors of For Sama


recent
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in Maggie's Plan (1)

Thursday
Oct012015

NYFF: Julianne Moore in "Maggie's Plan"

Manuel here with your weekly reminder that Julianne Moore is an Academy Award Winner.

 

Rebecca Miller's Maggie's Plan plays like a New York City screwball comedy with a Jane Austen protagonist at its center. If all of those elements feel like they would pull the film in opposite directions, you would be correct. Greta Gerwig is Maggie, a Gerwig-type gal too busy trying to match-make and keep everything within neat little plans to notice what’s right in front of her. Maggie, you see, wants to have a baby by herself, a plan that like many of the ones she cooks up throughout the film, goes awry when she falls for a married man (Ethan Hawke) whose brilliant, ice-cold wife Georgette (a bonkers accented Julianne Moore) is making him horribly miserable. That’s the basic premise. Or, perhaps, “everyone is self-absorbed, impossibly verbose, and in some sort of marital disarray” is just as good a summary for Miller’s film.

Miller, who you may know as “the writer-director of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (or even as “Lady Day-Lewis”), has a knack for skewering the pompous urbanity of New Yorkers and much of the comedy in Maggie’s Plan is derived from putting these characters in awkward situations their loquaciousness cannot solve. This is a world where people are “pickle entrepreneurs,” specialize in Ficto-Critical Anthropology, suggest the word like “is a language condom,” and rejoice when they hear Slavoj Žižek will be attending a conference in Canada. Gerwig, Hawke and especially Moore do a great job of walking the thin line between satirizing and humanizing these characters, though Miller’s script sometimes strains for credulity, her characters at once too childish and too self-aware to make many of the choices they make, like write an autobiographical academic book about the affair that destroyed their marriage to a promising anthropologist who’s intent on writing a continuously ballooning mess of a novel.

Thus, while the overall plotting is a bit off (Maggie is compared to Titania, Shakespeare’s meddling fairy Queen, though she’s closer to Austen’s clueless protagonists in the way she approaches relatively simple endeavors with needless complexity), it gives these performers some howlers to milk. Moore in particular finds ways of making lines like “No one upends commodity fetishism like you do!” have you double over in laughter. Part of it is her Danish accent. Part of it is her pineapple-like hairstyle. And part of it is the withering looks she gives as she spouts her dialogue in contempt: “There’s something so pure in you. And stupid” she says to Maggie at one point.

 And so, while there’s plenty to enjoy in Maggie’s Plan, including wonderful bit parts by Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader as Maggie’s bickering married friends, it’s all ultimately a bit too precious. But know this: you haven’t really lived until you’ve seen Julianne Moore faceplant while walking in the snow only to later whimper: “Are we going to die here?!”

 Maggie’s Plan plays NYFF on Sunday October 4th (with Miller, Gerwig, Moore, Hawke, Rudolph, and Travis Fimmel in person) and Monday October 5th (with Miller in person). Sony Pictures Classics will release Maggie's Plan though a date has yet to be determined.