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Monday, November 16, 2015

Awards Watch: MISTRESS AMERICA And The Problem With Millenial Plight Stories

I realize that watching a 20-something hipster have a quarter life meltdown for two hours might be entertaining for some, but I still cannot get into it. Like, at all. And Greta Gerwig has built an entire career off it. To be fair, I like her. Like, I like watching her on screen, and I think she is an engaging actress. But I just don't find any of her characters as interesting. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I ever were to meet any of her characters I'd slap her in the face like Cher did to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck roll my eyes so hard they'd fall out of my head.

But, you know, to each her own.

I mean, how many movies could you endure with lines like "I'll probably end up doing something depressing and young?"This is, by the way, a direct quote from MISTRESS AMERICA, yet another awards contender that folks are hyping up for no reason. (Sidebar: Oscar season better start getting good and soon, if not it should just go ahead and be canceled). The film's premise falls right in line with other Gerwig films: a flighty, 20-something young woman in New York City struggles to get her life started amid her own self-sabotage. This time, Gerwig plays Brooke, an artist in her own mind who is more than eager to take in her slightly more level-headed future stepsister Tracy (Lola Kirke) as her instant BFF (because of course). The two partake in shenanigans and beer 'til the sun comes up and Brooke finally gets her "a-ha" moment, to Tracy's disadvantage.

It's just...what is that word the kids are always saying? Oh that's right, basicMISTRESS AMERICA is so derivative and underwhelming that it just goes to show how much we're in a creative deficit this award season that this film is even being considered. Ugh.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks who see Gerwig's collective opus as one that resonates with increasingly directionless millenials, and those I ask one thing: Will you remember this film one year from now? I'm going to take a gander and say no, not only because of its lack of substance but also because its core audience doesn't have the attention span to retain such a fleeting film that seems to caricaturize them more than sympathize with them. Like every other trend, this too shall pass.

Rating: D (* out of *****)


Unknown said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only person in this world who didn't get this film. I detested it. I saw it, because I loved Frances Ha, but the characters in Mistress America are so unlikeable to the point of no redemption. I just don't get it. Great Review!

Brittani Burnham said...

Nice write up! I skipped this one. You're right about Gerwig though, I think a big reason for me not seeing this was because it looked so much like Frances Ha, and while that film was nice, I still find it kind of forgettable too.

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