Mistress America Review By Zachary Marsh
Mistress America re-teams Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig for their third time over the course of five years. Regarding tone and characters, this is very similar to “Frances Ha,” though this one is miles better in my eyes. Mistress is about a young college freshman in New York, played by the adorable Lola Kirke, who ends up under the wing of her eccentric and outgoing soon-to-be stepsister, played by Gerwig. Being a college freshman in Brooklyn myself, this story really connected with me on many levels. In many ways, I could see myself in the shoes of Kirke’s Tracy, being alone and unfamiliar to this world far bigger than she might have anticipated. At the same time, I could see myself in Gerwig’s Brooke, having the passion of pursuing large dreams and attempt to make the world around her, well, her bitch.
Not only is the movie relatable and poignant, but it’s also extremely funny. This film may have the most consistent amount of laugh-inducing jokes in a movie all year. Baumbach and Gerwig go back to the roots of the old-school screwball comedies of the 1930s-1950s with its jokes. In fact, there are so many jokes thrown in per minute that it’s kind of hard to get them all on a first viewing. That’s how funny this movie is. The second half of the movie alone, which mostly takes place in one setting, has more laughs than any other comedy to have come out this year, and maybe even last year too. It might just be that I love this type of humor, but I was laughing hard consistently. If you’re not a fan of old-school humor and are more a fan of shock-humor or really raunchy jokes, then this might not be the film for you. There are some raunchy jokes here, but they don’t make up the movie’s entire sense of humor. Take that for what it’s worth.
Greta Gerwig as always shines and gives a lively and energetic performances, making herself out to be the next big indie “it” girl of the modern era. Lola Kirke, whose most known role prior to this film was a small role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, is also quite terrific in this movie. She has this lovable “girl next door” look and attitude to her performance, which is enhanced by an adorable little lisp she has. However when she brings on her sex appeal in certain scenes in the movie, my god does she bring it. I can honestly see Kirke becoming something like the next Shailene Woodley or Jennifer Lawrence if the right cards are handed her way. These two have terrific chemistry together, which work even better when they’re in scenes with their fellow cast mates. The second half, in particular, is where every single joke hits hard, every performance is great, and every bit of dialogue entertains. I’m not going to spoil exactly what goes down during this section of the movie, but when you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
In case you couldn’t tell, I love this movie. Every note in this movie hit with grace to me, and for 84 minutes I was under complete control of Baumbach, Gerwig, and co. Not only is this a great comedy and a relatable story about adjusting to a new life in a new place, but it’s also a rather beautiful story of two strangers whose bond becomes bigger than the one that their parents are about to share together. We have all had that special friend who not only shares common interests but just simply “gets” you. They understand how your mind works and want to follow every move you make or help you on the path of righteousness. This bond is what Brooke and Tracy share in this movie, and in my eyes, it’s the best love story of 2015.
Because of school, and laziness, to be honest, this review has been in the draft stage for the past few months, so sadly this can’t be experienced in the theater at this time. However, it did just come out on Digital HD and should be on DVD very soon. Do yourself a favor and just see this movie. It can be with friends, family members, people you don’t know, or even just yourself. Either way, this is a movie that deserves to be seen before the year runs out. Mistress America is a sharply written, expertly crafted, and perfectly paced comedy that has the funniest and possibly most relatable dialogue and story this year has seen.