Monday, August 17, 2015

Big Apple Madam

If there were Oscars for Best Entrance than Greta Gerwig's entrance in Mistress America wins this year's statue, plus all the retroactive statues -- all of them melted down and reformed into one gigantic Godzilla sized Oscar, plunked down on Greta. I can't tell you how hard I laughed at her entrance - really, I can't tell you, I hyperventilated, cut off all the oxygen to my brain, and passed out. Maybe I am overselling it? I doubt it. Let's just say this: you will literally never see anything funnier in your entire life, ever, not never ever, never, forever. That about does it.

There's a Frances like breeze to the first chapter of Mistress America before we meet Greta's latest Best Character Ever - a tone poem of little moments introducing us to Lola Kirke's main character as she navigates the melancholy and strange first steps into the college world. But then in walks Brooke (that's Greta's character's name) and she cuts that familiar mood off at the knees -- this is not Frances Ha. It's something bouncier and weirder and kinda meaner, but sharp, very sharp. Not better, per se, but a fascinating counterpoint, and funny as funny gets.

Frances just about made my heart burst by the time the credits rolled; I have a feeling the emotions of Mistress are gonna sneak up on me on a second or third viewing. They're there, I suss them out just fine with my afterward thoughts, but this time around the movie doesn't have the patience for feeding you or leading you -- it's way over there running down 42nd street and it's up to you to keep not just your own wits about you, but the all the wits.

Mainly it's just relentlessly old-fashioned in a way that feels totally new - it's the gleaming Citibank storefronts of tomorrow's secretly half-vacant New York City sharing a bagel and lox with the clunky Broadway hoofer of yore. It's Busby Berkeley slapping Carrie Bradshaw across the face. If I am making it sound especially New-Yorky, then you're halfway towards getting it - you're in Jersey, but you'll come around eventually and we'll try not to judge.

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