Newest Reviews
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
  Mistress America Write Who You Know
Year: 2015
Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Matthew Shear, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Heather Lind, Michael Chernus, Cindy Cheung, Kathryn Erbe, Dean Wareham, Shana Dowdeswell, Clare Fowley, Charlie Gillette, Rebecca Henderson, Rebecca-Naomi Jones
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tracy (Lola Kirke) is an eighteen-year-old attending her first year of college in New York City, but she's finding it difficult to make friends and tends to eat meals alone, while her roommate is not exactly encouraging and her course work begins to suffer as she falters in her dedication. Perhaps concentrating on her ambitions to become a writer will lift her out of her doldrums, but the main channel for that is an exclusive society who will only publish a story in their magazine if they approve it, and the only way they do that is to sneak into the accepted author's dorm room in the middle of the night and plant a custard pie in their face. Is this what Tracy wants? How about she follows the suggestion of her mother (Kathryn Erbe)?

She prompts Tracy to call up Brooke, the woman who will be her new stepsister, who happened to be played by Greta Gerwig; she had collaborated with director Noah Baumbach, her partner she had worked with creatively before, on the script. She evidently knew where her strengths lay as the dialogue was carefully contrived to sound just right emerging from her mouth, not perhaps stretching her talents but if you've found something you’re good at, why not set about it with aplomb? This female hipster (hipstette? Hipstess?) persona served her well in Mistress America, for we were intended to find her character amusing and sympathise with her more as the narrative progressed.

As if to say, those striving to be achingly cool and ending up pretentious are people too, goddammit, so laugh all you like, there's a genuine soul in there. This was a lesson to be learned by Tracy, who is enchanted with the older but maybe no wiser new person in her life, so much so that she takes her quirks and places them in a short story she's working on. You could see where this was headed as it was only a matter of time before somebody discovered the similarities in Tracy's text, but that wasn’t the whole story as she found that keeping a friend, never mind finding one in the first place, is a very important thing in life and something to be treasured even if you don’t always see eye to eye.

Not that Brooke is aware that Tracy doesn't always agree with her, as when a subject emerges where there’s a disagreement, Tracy is skilled enough to keep Brooke on her side. If this is making the younger woman sound like a Machiavelli of sorts, that’s not accurate, as she was prey to the same insecurities and errors as her potential new stepsister was, it’s just that she hid them better. Gerwig and Kirke made for a winning pair, sparking off each other with some very funny, comically poker faced dialogue that simultaneously sent the pair up while gently hinting at the fragility of their egos, hopes and dreams that rendered them that bit more human. Not that everyone watching was going to get on with the script's idea of humour, as it seemed there were just as many detractors as there were appreciators.

Mistress America was a very specific brand of character comedy which might appeal more to the target of its wit than those who would have liked to witness that target brought down, which might have been because it genuinely liked the folks who populated its brief running time. Whereas Baumbach's companion piece While We're Young delivered its generation gaps with exasperation, this was more forgiving, though still acknowledging that just because you’re getting older there’s no guarantee you'll have anything worked out whatsoever. The plot culminated in a scene where for complicated reasons Tracy has ended up with a variety of people simultaneously reading her story based on Brooke, yet while there was a real pain in watching what might have been caricatures waking up to the fact that each one of us contains a spectrum of emotions and even the most cartoonish of us can be hurt, it remained laugh out loud funny in places, and often as well. Nicely played deadpan style by a cast who never came across as too studied, it may not have been anything new, but was fresh enough. Music by Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1142 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith


Last Updated: