Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.
Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.
I have nothing but love for Greta Gerwig anyway, and it seems to become more with every film that I see with her (and maybe even some without her). Here, she’s in her element, portraying a woman who is unlike the women we usually get to see in films. Maggie makes her own decisions, and she even likes to make them for other people sometimes. She simply likes things to be neat. In another movie, she probably would have been a hated character, or at the very least a joke. But with Gerwig’s warmth and Miller’s empathy, Maggie is thoroughly likeable – and that includes all her weaknesses.
But then the film is simply filled to the brim with characters who are realistic and are all kind of weird and a little strange and definitely imperfect, but that’s what makes them so realistic. We don’t need perfection in the real people around us to like them (or hate them), so why do we usually expect it in our movies? Maggie’s Plan shows us that we don’t need it there, either (despite, of course, still being a glossed up version of the world).
Much like its characters, Maggie’s Plan isn’t perfect, either. Sometimes it’s a little too eager, [SPOILER] for example when it gives Maggie her happy end and makes it clear that Guy really is the father of her daughter which was at once narratively heavy-handed, as the daughter’s math prowess and Guy’s inclination for it were both already established, and conservative as it firmly established that the right family is made up of the biological mother, father and child. [/SPOILER] And especially for a film that is set in New York there should have been more PoC.
But just as I loved Maggie with her weaknesses, I also loved the film. I left the cinema with a big grin plastered to my face (and not only because Travis Fimmel’s Guy is so cute in this, I felt I needed to crush something) and a spring in my step. And what better way is there to leave a cinema?