Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Mistress America (2015)

Gerwig's College Years.

It's tough to recommend a film with a requirement of 'patience,' even moreso when we already know what getting fooled twice means. The first half-hour of Mistress America is a montage of incredibly short scenes with no punchlines (save for the immortal 'Why don't you put pasta up her pussy?'), showing step-by-step the construction of a new family relationship (step-sisters) around errands and social obligations. It doesn't seem to have much of a direction and it goes on long enough to put real fear in your heart. The whole film can't be this, can it?

Then the centerpiece cometh. A huge, snappy dialogue sequence in the center of the movie ropes everything into a tight ball and suddenly, it's working. All that seemingly meaningless shit that had a constant music bed under it like it was Six-String Samurai, that's where the setups were hidden, now getting paid off like dominos in a flurry of Howard Hawksian dialogue bullets. We are railgunned through a second act and before we know it, all we need are 20 more minutes to wrap it all up. AND WE CARE. Satisfaction!

It's good to know that, this many years later, he can still pull off the Highball trick. The Baumbach we know can succeed is alive in his partner. Here's hoping it lasts a little longer.

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