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By Jess Fenton
3rd July 2016

Greta Gerwig. I lovingly sigh every time I say her name or even just think of her. She’s so fabulous and talented - sure, her "adorably neurotic ingenue" bit is a little one note, but it’s like chocolate: it’s so good you can have it on its own but if they start adding flavours then that’s a bonus. In her latest feature ‘Maggie’s Plan’, she has neither written nor produced the film - nor has it been touched by Noah Baumbach - yet it has all the hallmarks of one of their masterpieces, it it weren’t for...

Maggie (Gerwig) is an NYU college administrator desperate to have a baby. She’s even enlisted the "donation" of an acquaintance/pickle entrepreneur. After a work accounting error leads her to befriend a "ficto-critical anthropologist" named John (Ethan Hawke), the pair become confidants and professional sounding-boards before falling in love and breaking up John’s marriage to the enigmatic and brilliant Georgette (Julianne Moore). After three years of marriage and a child, it seems that Maggie and John’s relationship has run its course. But ever the people pleaser, Maggie recognises the sparks still evident between John and Georgette and hatches a plan (with Georgette) to reunite the exes, ensuring that nobody gets hurt and everyone gets what they want. Simple, right?


What sounds like - and should have been - a satirical comedy-of-errors, falters under the flaw of the story. Surely if John and Georgette want to be together, then they would have found their way back to each other naturally. This flaw in the logic of the plan is in fact pointed out in the film, which begs the question: what was the point? This, sadly and conveniently, is never answered as it pops up around the 90-minute mark of a 98-minute movie.

For a film based around relationships, writer/director Rebecca Miller has written about love but only shows us attraction, so each coupling plays a little less than organic -but for the sake of convenience, let’s just go along with it. So many missed opportunities for such a talented and experienced group of players.

It begs the question: what was the point? This, sadly and conveniently, is never answered.

With a fantastic cast - along with supporting roles for Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph - this should have been knocked out of the park, but the script just wasn’t there. The concept hasn’t been explored to it’s full comedic, satirical, even poignant potential, and this fable about neurotic and narcissistic New Yorkers is now just another story about neurotic and narcissistic New Yorkers.

RELEASE DATE: 07/07/2016
RUN TIME: 1h 38m
CAST: Greta Gerwig
Ethan Hawke
Julianne Moore
Bill Hader
Maya Rudolph
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