Mistress America

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Mistress America

Tracy (Lola Kirke) is an 18-year-old university student struggling to fit into a New York that doesn’t seem all that interested in her. Her classes don’t excite her, her literary dreams are flailing, her fellow students largely ignore her, and so when her mother suggests she call up her soon-to-be sister (Tracy’s mother is marrying her father) Brooke (Greta Gerwig), she figures she’s got nothing to loose.
Turns out the 30-year-old Brooke is a bit of a free-spirit – or loose cannon – who drags Tracy into her high energy world of parties and schemes and living life to the fullest. Put another way, Brooke is another, slightly more cartoony, version of the character Gerwig (who co-wrote the script with director and partner Noah Baumbach) played in Frances Ha, only this time she remains static while Tracy is the one who grows and matures.
It’s more of a comedy than Frances Ha – an extended middle act is a comedy of manners as the duo and a bunch of hangers-on invade a mansion owned by Brooke’s now-married frenemy – and feels lesser for it. But Kirke is excellent as a young woman coming into herself; Brooke may be having fun, but Tracy’s the one who takes it to heart.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris