Thursday, June 30, 2016

Movie Review: MAGGIE'S PLAN

Maggie (Greta Gerwig) is planning on having a baby of her own, but her plans are derailed when she meets John (Ethan Hawke), the two fall in love and he divorces his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore), yet things don't seem to go as well as John and Maggie had planned and when Georgette and Maggie meet, a whole new plan starts coming to life in Maggie's head. Written and directed by Rebecca Miller, Maggie's Plan also stars SNL cast members Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph.

The description above might not reflect the movie in all of its delight and fun, but it might be indicative of the sweat messiness of the characters we get to spend a hundred minutes with and whom, by the end of the film, I wouldn't have minded spending a little time more.

Going into this film I just really wanted a quirky, classic comedy with good heart and drama and that was exactly what I was handed. Maggie's Plan can't be commended for particular originality in storytelling or cinematic language, it also has a very derivative style from the New York indies of the recent years, but nothing of the above takes away from the fresh take we get to experience on characters who all have depth and interesting struggles to overcome that and with who we spend a very pleasant time alternating between moments of joy and fun, which are the ones that work best, and moments or dramatic dynamics that fit perfectly in the tone by remaining lighthearted but keeping a weight to what is going on.

The direction the film has is very straight forward, I really enjoyed the off beat comedy sprinkled around the film, it was a very nice touch and fit in the very non invasive staging. We just get to see the five performers go at it, on a well written and thought out screenplay which is just the proof of the fact that when you have a good story and passion for it there will always be something to stick behind to for an audience.

The cast is really the beating heart of the movie and the reason for its success. Greta Gerwig as always lights up the screen with her infectious energy and quirky charisma, she might be playing the character she has already done many times, but it doesn't really matter when the results are so pleasant. Juliane Moore sells her character perfectly and doesn't come off as a unlikable presence she could have been, you get her arch and stand with her as much as you do with the other characters. Ethan Hawke is as flawless as always, I think I've never seen him give a bad performance and even if this isn't exactly his best work it is another one where you just loose the actor and only see the character. The supporting cast is just as good as the main one and they are the reason for many of the big laughs in the film. Bill Hader doesn't even have to move to be funny, Rudolph plays off him pitch perfect and she even manages to overcome his titanic presence at moments. And then there is a revelation: Travis Fimmel, I think this guys has something special and I'm really rooting for him. After really liking him in Warcraft, here he does something totally different and crafts a cameo character that steals every scene he is in. He is hilarious and manages to get laughs by just moving around, it's really inspired work.

Maggie's Plan is such a welcome entry in this year's movie list and whilst nobody I think will come out having had their lives changed, it is not its purpose to do so and with the heart in the right place it tells and absorbing story having loads of fun in the way.

James's Score: 7/10

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