TIFF 2015 Review: Maggie's Plan
The extent to which you embrace the wacky choices made by self-absorbed privileged Brooklynites will determined your love or hate of Maggie’s Plan. Greta Gerwig, in continuing to shore up her stronghold on the niche of kooky, incandescent, slightly intolerable New Yorkers, plays Maggie, a Columbia academic whose intent on having a baby gets muddled when an older professor falls for her.
John (Ethan Hawke) is the lost soul in what develops into a love triangle; well, a love triangle with a bunch of random points strewn around. Married to a controlling artist and theorist, played with a German accent and such force by Julianne Moore, John finds Maggie an inspiration for percolating ideas about his future book.
Elsewhere, Maggie’s best friend and former partner played by Bill Hader offers advice from the perspective of a married father, and a potential sperm donor in an intellectual if not dull pickle seller awaits approval by Maggie.
They’re all a little nuts, as are Julianne’ overly proper children; it’s a surrealist screwball comedy, as John declares at one point Maggie’s Plan recalls Noah Baumbach, and his dissection of millennials in the heart of the Big Apple; but here, Rebecca Miller’s film feels freer and more fun. There is less a hard meaning attached and more an overall inspiration. These characters are lacking control of their lives yes, but their desire to be happy better serves a story that constantly, feverishly, jumps into one chaotic and funny setting after another.