FILM: Mistress America


With such recent films as Frances Ha, While We’re Young, and now his latest, Mistress America, filmmaker Noah Baumbach really seems to have established himself as The Storyteller of post-9/11 New York City and the types of characters that now inhabit it. Teaming up with Baumbach for two of those three films is actress (and now writer/producer/girlfriend) Greta Gerwig.

In Mistress America, we first meet Tracy (Lola Kirke) whose mother is engaged to the father of Gerwig’s character, Brooke. The two girls quickly become friends, with Tracy playing the younger, more observational character (she also narrates) and Brooke playing the fun, energetic New Yorker with the exciting life, cool friends, and fabulous business ideas, including one to open up a restaurant with the assistance of her (fairly absent) boyfriend. But as the film progresses, we see a fuller view of Brooke and some of the cracks in her seemingly-fabulous lifestyle. Sure she is a fun Soul Cycle instructor and an occasional freelance interior designer, but she also never seems to really be getting anywhere or accomplishing anything, despite her millions of great ideas.

This film’s strengths definitely lie in its wonderfully-crafted, three-dimensional, realistic characters. Kirke is excellent as the naive aspiring writer, using the people and things around her as the subjects in her writing. As usual, Gerwig shines as well in her role as that type of New Yorker that a lot of us have encountered at some point. Where the movie loses a few points for me is in the rapid-fire dialog. Throughout the second half, the film definitely could have benefitted from a few quieter moments of reprieve so that watching the movie didn’t feel like such a marathon. Generally though, this movie is funny and interesting and features wonderfully complex characters. Another excellent film from Baumbach and Gerwig!

Mistress America is in theaters nationwide on August 14, 2015.

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About Julie Kocsis

Julie Kocsis is Associate Editor and a contributing writer of ShortAndSweetNYC.com. Living in Brooklyn, she works for Penguin Random House during the day and writes about rock bands at night. In addition to her many band interviews as well as album and concert reviews that have been published on ShortAndSweetNYC.com, she has also been published on The Huffington Post, Brooklyn Exposed and the Brooklyn Rail.
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