Mistress America, 2015, Noah Baumbach

"Mistress America feels like something from 1986 or ’87, something that abuts Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis, John Hughes and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. The film starts out as a satire of effete college life — Tracy and Tony write for and join the literary society, which admits new members with a predawn pie in the face. You’re worried they’re going to push too hard to mock the youth of today. I was nervous that a shot of Tracy’s cracked iPhone screen was going to become some kind of Generational Statement, but it’s possible Baumbach got all of that out of his system with While We’re Young, which was a hit for him in the spring. He’s still preoccupied with the ebb of youthfulness and the ache and fear of failure — but Gerwig reduces his bitterness without losing sight of the narcissism that, both as solo artists and a tandem, is really their target. Authenticity and artistic truth are equally important to Baumbach in both of his 2015 movies. It just feels better explored from the point of view of an 18-year-old finding her way — never mind that Kirke has the carriage and diction of a woman 10 years older (her sister is Jemima Kirke, who plays Jessa on Girls)." (Wesley Morris/Grantland)


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