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Mistress America


‘…a snapshot of 2015 that pulls no punches in terms of how millennials can present their lives as constant success despite encroaching failure…’

Sure, writer/director Noah Baumbach’s output is inconsistent, but at his best, he’s got an eye of character that makes him a unique talent. Working with star Greta Gerwig, who gets a co-writer credit, Baumbach manages to provide a strong companion piece to his similarly offbeat Frances Ha, perhaps lacking the same feel-good quality, but with considerable heft behind the social satire involved.

Impressionable Tracy (Lola Kirke) falls under the influence of Manhattan socialite Brooke (Gerwig), who has big ideas and a entrepreneurial flair. But it soon transpires that Brooke is anything but the success she appears, and Tracy’s surprising acceptance of that failure gets Mistress America off on the right foot.

It’s almost like The Great Gatsby if Gatsby’s businesses had failed; Brooke is an anti-heroine who is completely wrapped up in herself, and her relationship with Tracy is all the most interesting because the film dares to look at apparently rational people who are slightly deluded about who they are and what they can achieve. It may not be the American dream, but it’s a brutal reality that is universally recognizable.

The climax may be rather theatrical, and the music choices are retro in a way that doesn’t quite fit the narrative, but Mistress America is a snapshot of 2015 that pulls no punches in terms of how millennials can present their lives as constant success despite encroaching failure. Gerwig has moved onto bigger and better things, but this is an important film in her development and worth pointing out to her many fans.


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  1. Greta is all I need to hear to put this on the must-see list.

    Side note: I saw the Barbie trailer at Magic Mike. I don’t have to tell you it was the best part of the evening.

  2. Just got back from the library. Picked up Rob Zombie’s The Munsters (4.5 rating at IMDb) and the Idris Elba-punching-a-lion flick (5.6 rating). Which do you recommend I pop in the player for tomorrow’s viewing?

  3. You stepping in for Nicola? Somebody’s gotta run the place. Let me know if you want me to come over and manage Holyrood until you get things sorted out.

    • Can you do Tuesday afternoons? My shelf stacking gig gets in the way of a firm commitment.

      Whether your support independence or not, she was a lot better than the creep before. But she lost the plot in the last year…what could you bring to the table?

      • She’s a damn site better politician than any of our lot, but as you say had a fair old wobbly over the past few months. If you’re taking over I can bring things to the table. Mostly food and drink.

          • Poor bin service is unconscionable. Regular pick-ups are a public trust. I’ll have SmartBins that walk themselves to the end of the lane and send out alerts when they’ve been emptied. Friendly bins that give you sorting tips. Plaid bins for all the stuff that gets thrown out in Scotland that stays in Scotland.

            • The cutting edge in bin-thank. If I support you in this, would you in turn be prepared to support my proposal to install a hotel mini bar in every house, flat and hearth in Scotland?

              • Are we talking flaxseed and kale smoothies? I don’t want my people turning into a bunch of drunken sots. Shutting down the lotteries and ladbrokes too. That’s no good for anyone.

                  • Crying out for my mature leadership.

                    On a slightly more serious side, how big a part of Sturgeon leaving was the fuss over transpeople in women’s prisons? That’s all I ever read about online but I wasn’t sure if that was just because it was clickbaity or if it really was a big deal.

                    • Your reading of the situation is correct. Sturgeon rarely if ever put a foot wrong in eight years. But she must have got some bad advice over the trans issue. Scots see themselves as progressive, and most of us would be keen to see trans people have the same rights as the rest of us. But these rights came at the obvious and immediate expense of women’s safety, and Sturgeon was continually on the back foot defending a plan that was poorly thought out. The fascist media here, like Murdoch’s rags or The Torygraph, never gave a damn about women’s rights before, but sensed blood in the water, and would have put Sturgeon’s picture on the front page alongside a transexual rapist every day until she resigned, which she did. No winners here, and Sturgeon’s cause appears sunk.

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