The engaging Greta Gerwig, who seems to be the manifestation of a child from Alvie Singer out of Annie Hall, headlines another, (let’s face it, it would be coy and disingenuous to deny it), quirky, kooky comedy, MAGGIE’S PLAN. For all that, it is sophisticated quirky comedy, and plays a treat.
Greta Gerwig plays Maggie Hardin, a young woman at a crossroads in her life. She is charming and optimistic, with success in her career in education and wonderful friends, but something is missing. Her sensible nature has led her to decide that without a great love in her life, she is going to have a child on her own.
Maggie has the support of her best friend Tony (Bill Hader), with whom she was previously romantically involved in college, and Tony’s wife Felicia (Maya Rudolph), whom she works with at The New School in New York City. When she runs into an old college acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel), a smart, good-natured, although slightly odd pickle entrepreneur, Maggie decides he is the perfect donor for her future child. Maggie’s life is planned, organised and calculated.
Self administering the spermatozoa, Maggie is interrupted by a visit from John Harding (Ethan Hawke) a college professor teaching elaborate anthropological courses such as “Ficto-critical Perspectives of Family Dynamics” and “Masks in the Modern Family from Victorian Times to the Present.”, who professes his passion for her and promptly inveigles himself into her vagina.
John aspires to be a novelist, and has found himself in an unsatisfying marriage to Georgette (Julianne Moore), a competitive and self-absorbed Danish academic, with whom he has two children, and it appears Harding has been harbouring a hard on for Maggie Hardin since they first met, a meeting brought about by the similarity in their surnames.
Falling in love and falling pregnant in one fell swoop, Maggie’s plan doesn’t go to plan, and neither do the ensuing years of blended families, domestic disharmony and creative curve balls.
So Maggie hatches another plan, which just reiterates that nothing in this life ever really goes to plan.
Written for the screen and directed by Rebecca Miller, based on a story by Karen Rinaldi, MAGGIE’S PLAN is a complex mature comedy where the conventional is trumped by the contemporary.
The casting is exemplary with Gerwig again displaying her particular genius as a comedic leading lady. Ethan Hawke revels in another bloke raging against maturity, and Julianne Moore is sensational as the Scandinavian ice queen.
MAGGIE’S PLAN is gorgeous to look at thanks to rising star director of photography Sam Levy, who has shot some of the most innovative films to in recent years. including Noah Baumbach’s Greta Gerwig starrer, FRANCES HA. Here, he renders New York anew, opening the audience’s eyes to different aspects of the city.
Refreshingly unforced, MAGGIE’S PLAN is a sock drawer of a movie – no matter how organised you are, there will always be the odd.