Release Date: June 10, 2016
Running Time: 98 minutes
Writer/director Rebecca Miller’s delightfully quirky Maggie’s Plan transports introspective characters straight out of a Noah Baumbach midlife meltdown into a Woody Allen-influenced New York anti-rom com that’s surprisingly blessed with a big heart. Greta Gerwig—naturally—plays New York singleton Maggie. She longs to have a child on her own. She finds a willing sperm doner in pickle maker Guy (Warcraft’s Travis Fimmel)—but then she falls in love with ficto-critical anthropologist John (Ethan Hawke), breaking up his marriage to the seemingly distance college professor Georgette (Julianne Moore) in the process. Several years later, Maggie and John’s relationship has grown so stale that she concocts an elaborate plot to rid herself of John and live on her own with their daughter. Gerwig tones down her usual flighty demeanor and mannerisms to ensure Maggie remains reasonably likable the more controlling and manipulative she becomes as her dubious plans unfolds. John isn’t the worst husband in the world, but Hawke imbues him with the aura of a “there but not present” father and a spouse who needs both to be validated and left to his own devices. While Miller draws humorous supporting turns from former Saturday Night Livers Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph, it is Moore who steals Maggie’s Plan with a slyly comic turn that mines Georgette’s emotional honesty and intellectual superiority to curious effect. Moore also refuses to allow Georgette to hide behind her frosty exterior. She somehow manages to make her both approachable and sympathy despite her severe demeanor. Miller smartly avoids pitting Maggie against Georgette in a way that would both demean the two women and steer Maggie’s Plan into much-covered rom-com territory; instead, it’s more fun to watch these strong-willed women join forces under such strange and unexpected circumstances. While Maggie and Georgette are obviously connected by the father of their children, Maggie’s Plan never defines them by their relationship to John. Instead, Maggie’s Plan takes pride in showing how two women can look back at their past mistakes to plot a better tomorrow.
Aired: June 9, 2016
Web site: http://sonyclassics.com/maggiesplan/