Maggie’s Plan (2015): Almost Works

I’m still chuckling, two days after watching the movie, at the situations in the movie. This is Greta Gerwig affair through and through. Yes, even with Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore around as a side-dish. But once again, Gerwig shows she’s made for this genre, like no one else of the generation. She just walks around being herself, and it’s more than enough.

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The plot is ridiculously facetious. Almost Woody Allenish in its “why can’t this happen” way? Hawke and Moore play caricatures of characters or archetypes. Hawke plays John, a professor of “ficto-critical anthropology”, is the archetypical mid-life crisis enduring trying-to-write a novel kind writer, with adequately dysfunctional marriage to the fiercely feminist professor Georgette, played by Moore, with two kids: a younger boy, and a teenage girl, who’s sufficiently quirky. While Gerwig plays Maggie, “a bridge between art and commerce”, as she describes her administrative job at a school where John has taken up a position as visiting lecturer.

Maggie wants a family, actually just a kid, and she is almost sure she wants it without a man, because she has a history of getting bored with anyone in six months max. And so her plan is to find a right sperm donor for a father, which she has found. Unfortunately, that plan is derailed by an affair with John, as John leaves Georgette, and has a daughter with Maggie.

The film cuts three years or so into future, and although it hasn’t happened in six months, as she feared, Maggie finds that the relationship isn’t exactly working, with John now “completely self-absorbed”, and her rescue mission is now turned into a something else altogether. Being Maggie, she comes up with an ingenious plan that almost works.

Maggie’s plan, however Allenish, tries to also be serious, and it’s never an easy thing to pull off. To her credit, Rebecca Miller almost pulls it off. The result is a very watchable, part funny, part introspective, untiring satire, that’s sleekly filmed, with pretty good dialogs, and some very good acting from all the three major characters. All in all, a good enough, but not great film that is still worth your time, and not very taxing, as a lot of good films that have come up lately are. If you’ve enjoyed Gerwig movies like Mistress America, or Frances Ha, you’d probably like this one too.


Quick Rating: 3.5/5.

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