A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a lot like a Woody Allen movie. Although writer-director Rebecca Miller keeps it rather cute and silly, avoiding the more pointed issues raised in her script. Still, the snaky, farcical story is very entertaining, and the witty performances from the terrific cast make it well worth a look.
Greta Gerwig plays Maggie, a woman who has given up on finding the perfect man, so she sets out to have a child using a donation from a pickle entrepreneur (Travis Fimmel). Then just after she has the fertilisation procedure, she falls for her fellow professor John (Ethan Hawke), who's looking for a reason to leave his haughty Danish wife Georgette (Julianne Moore). Three years later, Maggie and John are settled down with their toddler daughter. But Maggie is frustrated that John has become aimless, unable to finish his long-in-the-works novel. She's also somehow ended up raising his and Georgette's kids (Mina Sundwall and Jackson Frazer). So she hatches a plan to get Georgette to take him back.
The premise is ingenious, and Miller fills it in with colourful characters and lots of detail, plus several convenient twists and implausible turns of the plot. This keeps the film from ever becoming more than a bit of nutty fluff, but at least it's entertaining fluff. Gerwig and Hawke are superb as self-involved people whose relationship develops in surprisingly resonant ways. Both are sympathetic but not hugely likeable in the way they remain oblivious to everyone around them, and watching them interact is a lot of fun. But the entire film is stolen by Moore in a hilariously spiky turn as the high-maintenance Georgette, who peers imperiously through her riotous array of furs and scarves but can only barely hide the fragile person inside.
Continue reading: Maggie's Plan Review
Maggie's has always been practically minded and now that she's in her thirties and has decided that it's time to have a child, the small issue of not having a partner isn't going to stand in her way. She's never really experienced being head over heels in love so when she meets John Harding (an aspiring novelist) their instant connection comes as a shock to the sometimes bookish Maggie.
As Maggie and John's relationship becomes more and more serious, Maggie seeks advice from her best friends. Falling for John isn't just a usual case of starting a relationship, John has many other people to consider - namely his wife and kids. John has been married to a Danish academic for years but over recent times, the couple have become more and more distant.
Soon John realises that Maggie is a source of inspiration for him and he's ready to move on from his prior life. We fast-forward 2 years down the line and the couple have a child but Maggie isn't quite as head over heels in love with the man she thought John was. Maggie cannot bring herself to leave John and decides to come up a highly unconventional way to try and find a solution to her current predicament.
Rebecca Miller - The 66th annual International Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) - Maggie's Plan - Photo Call at Grand Hyatt hotel at The Grand Hyatt Hotel - Berlin, Germany - Monday 15th February 2016
Pippa (Wright) is married to the much-older Herb (Arkin), a publisher who hates that he's now retired. But it's Pippa whose world is starting to unravel, as she reaches the point where she needs more than being a trophy wife and mother to two now-grown kids (Kazan and McDonald). Her sleepwalking antics indicate that her subconscious has already figured this out, but it'll take a look at her childhood (played by Lively and youngster Madeline McNulty) to help her see what she needs to do next.
Continue reading: The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee Review
Reissued on DVD to take advantage of writer/director Rebecca Miller's new cachet courtesy of Personal Velocity, this inauspicious debt longs to be Heavenly Creatures -- or less explicably, Like Water for Chocolate, is the DVD case heralds. Too bad it's a third-rate indie, well photographed but ultimately not worth watching for either its precocious stars or its ham-fisted stars.
Continue reading: Angela Review
Reissued on DVD to take advantage of writer/director Rebecca Miller's new cachet courtesy of Personal Velocity, this inauspicious debt longs to be Heavenly Creatures -- or less explicably, Like Water for Chocolate, is the DVD case heralds. Too bad it's a third-rate indie, well photographed but ultimately not worth watching for its precocious stars or its ham-fisted stars.
Continue reading: Angela Review
First there's Delia (Kyra Sedgwick, consistently underrated for far too long), a tough cookie from hard knocks who must manage to break the cycle of family abuse without losing control in front of kids that have already seen Mommy cut down to size. Next is Greta (Parker Posey, fantastic in her most human role to date) who accidentally works her way up the corporate ladder, but also possibly out of a marriage that has lost all spark. Finally, Paula (Fairuza Balk, always interesting to watch) is living from one sign-from-above to the next after realizing she's pregnant.
Continue reading: Personal Velocity Review
Familiarity with Auburn's stage presentation may breed contempt for this version, which feels distinctly off-kilter from its first frames. Mysteries that held water longer in the theater instead land like Doc Marten's on a flimsy piece of plywood here. Director John Madden samples a chatty, analytical approach to his literal translation but gets swept up in stagy, awkward, and all-too-deliberate line readings. Much like last year's ill-conceived Phantom of the Opera, this movie has few cinematic qualities that elevate it above a tedious and emotionless play rehearsal shot on location.
Continue reading: Proof (2005) Review
A couple of problems threaten to spoil the remote idyll. Jack has a terminal heart condition and they both know his days are numbered. What each wants to do about it differs monumentally. For her part, Rose is devoted to the idea of committing suicide as soon as dad leaves his mortal coil, feeling she couldn't face life without him. In the wisdom of maturity and a wider scope of options, Jack would like to live out the remainder of his life with a companion who, at the same time, would become a replacement adult supervisor for teenager Rose when he's gone. Nice plan -- one that even a normal father might well dream up. And, since he's been dating Kathleen (Catherine Keener) during his rare visits to the mainland, and likes her, he asks her to come live with him and Rose.
Continue reading: The Ballad Of Jack And Rose Review
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