FILM REVIEW - MAGGIE'S PLAN
Running Length: 98 minutes
Directed by: Rebecca Miller
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader
Written by: Rebecca Miller
Cinematography: Sam Levi
Release Date: 8th July2016
An unromantic non-comedy that reeks of late-period Woody Allen.
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) is ready to have a baby, but without the complications of a partner. A solution presents itself when a pickle magnate called “Guy” (geddit?) offers to donate some of his seed without wanting any involvement in the child’s upbringing. But then Maggie meets married father-of-two John (Ethan Hawke), a wannabe writer described without any hint of irony as “the bad boy of ficto-critical anthropology”. Slowly, Maggie becomes infatuated with John’s tortured genius schtick. Just as Maggie’s about to pickle herself in the salty brine of Guy the pickle magnate, John arrives on her doorstep declaring his undying love.
Skip forward two years and the pair are married with a daughter. John is still self-absorbed and working on a novel without an end. Maggie is unhappy with her husband’s constant neediness and life in general, so she concocts a plan to send John running back into the arms of his ex.
Maggie’s Plan is a film of two halves, and both are underwhelming. Writer/director Rebecca Miller’s unromantic non-comedy reeks of late-period Woody Allen. It’s a moderately engaging idea that’s been taken out of the oven too early and served up before it’s ready.
The film’s style and tone suggest that we’re supposed to laugh at these characters, but they’re just plain irritating. Maggie’s meddling is like watching a chid attempt marriage counselling. This is a character who would greet the diagnosis of a terminal illness with giddy enthusiasm, and her wide-eyed naïveté soon becomes wearing.
Gerwig has never been the most versatile of actors (no doubt the casting notes described Maggie as a “Greta Gerwig-Type”), and at this stage Hawke could write a textbook on playing pretentious, self-centred narcissists. Julianne Moore manages to raise a few chuckles as John’s Germanic control freak ex-wife, but none of the cast stray from their comfort zones. Maggie’s Plan isn’t terrible; it’s just not very good.