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  Lola Versus Love, sex, relationships, Lola
Year: 2012
Director: Darryl Wein
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman, Debra Winger, Maria Dizzia, Jonathan Sale, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Adriane Lenox, Ray Iannicelli, Kathryn Kates, Jay Pharoah, Cheyenne Jackson, Kena Onyenjekwe
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lola (Greta Gerwig) is twenty-nine, pursuing an academic career and could not be happier when her boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman) proposes marriage. But just three weeks before their big day, Luke has cold feet and calls the whole thing off. Inconsolable after the split, Lola struggles to find happiness through first dates with strangers, a sexual fling with her best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) and attempts at reconnecting with her estranged fiancé, each of which proves disastrous.

Any movie dealing with neurotic, lovelorn, New Yorkers lives in the shadow of Woody Allen but despite traipsing down a well-trodden path, Lola Versus carves its own territory partly by being hipper, edgier and frankly a lot less despairing than the master had gotten on his home turf. That is, before various European adventures restored his mojo. It helps that this film’s educated, articulate young urbanites do not sound like a jaded elderly auteur speaking through a collection of twenty-something meat puppets. Even so, Lola Versus emerges the kind of warm, honest relationship comedy-drama movie bores insist died with the Seventies.

Opening where most romantic comedies end, this was the second feature from the creative team of Darryl Wein and actress and co-screenwriter Zoe Lister Jones. Jones also contributes an engaging turn as Lola’s acerbic friend Alice, who is coping with relationship issues of her own. As a portrait of panic stricken singletons aghast at waning youth and wasted lives, the film may be overly self-analytical for some tastes, but such is the nature of this sub-genre. Wein and Jones do not settle for easy laughs and make some sharp observations about dating, the pretentious end of the New York art scene and the late twenty-something malaise.

In the lead role, Greta Gerwig, whom Sight & Sound recently dubbed the most exciting actress in America delivers another open-hearted, quietly charismatic performance. She infuses Lola with a warm likeability that allows viewers to watch this flawed, self-conscious heroine grapple with her issues, not in that familiarly shrill, hysterically self-centred way, but ambling along as best she knows how. Lola’s determination to relinquish Luke offset by her awkward inability to let him go will resonate with anyone who has gone through a bad breakup. The obvious solution to this story would be for Lola to find love with all-round nice guy Henry but, as mentioned before, Wein and Jones avoid the easy route. Lola spirals down through a string of awkward, humiliating episodes before she grows to realise people often attract their own disasters. While ostensibly a romantic comedy, the film is less concerned with the quick fix of new love and more about learning to cope with failed relationships in a mature fashion. In short, it is a film about growing up.

Amidst a wholly engaging ensemble, there are welcome supporting turns from Bill Pullman and Debra Winger as Lola’s easygoing, hippie liberal parents. The latter snags one of the funniest running gags as, worried about her waning prospects for grandchildren, she urges Lola to freeze her eggs: “My friend Debbie did it. She has eggs all over the city!”

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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