How is Greta Gerwig not a bigger actress than she is? The more affable version of Parker Posey’s independent film it-girl of the ’90s, Gerwig again shines as Maggie, a young woman struggling to find love. As Maggie prepares to go through with her plan to have a baby on her own—thanks to the contributions of pickler Guy (Travis Fimmel, Warcraft)—she falls for an older married man, John (Ethan Hawke), with an intimidating, intellectual wife (Julianne Moore) and two children.
Writer-director Rebecca Miller, who happens to be married to Daniel Day-Lewis, has delivered what can best be characterized as a Woody Allen-style dramedy, and that summation is not the least bit reductive. Fans of Allen’s analytical, talky, lightly dramatic romantic comedies or Gerwig’s other collaborations with Noah Baumbach should find lots to enjoy in Maggie’s Plan. Gerwig’s time with Baumbach may have misled us into crediting him as the auteur; it seems we need to begin talking about Greta Gerwig films as their own subgenre. A dreamy, naïve, childish, selfish, awkward, ultimately appealing protagonist struggles to be mature, find love, succeed at a career, etc; sure, it always seems like the same movie, but Gerwig makes watching it worthwhile.
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