©Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Mistress America
U.S.A./Brazil 2015

Opening 10 Dec 2015

Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Writing credits: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Principal actors: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Seth Barrish, Charlie Gilette, Dean Wareham

Lonely in the Big Apple? Yes, but not for long. Tracy (Lola Kirke), the 18-year old freshman having newly arrived in New York is disappointed with college life. Out of boredom she phones her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig) who lives on fashionable Time Square. This turns out to be the beginning of a complicated friendship. Brooke shows her the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle. She shows her how to have fun by spending the night moving from one nightclub to the next, dancing, drinking, flirting. Tracy is in awe of the popular and apparently successful young woman and admires the fast pace. Lively Brooke constantly talks about herself, is totally self-absorbed, narcissistic. Despite being charming, her behavior is confusing. Her remarks are often embarrassing as she does not mind trampling on other people's feelings, not for once questioning her own behavior. 

When the subplot of the film brings us to suburbia and Brooke faces her ex-fiancé and her ex-girlfriend (now his wife), the action becomes more confusing. Will she be getting money for her ambitious project? There is a struggle between jealousy, betrayal, old friendship and forgiveness. Tracy remains an observer but at the same time she also realizes the shallowness and insincerity surrounding her. But how sincere is she herself? As an aspiring writer she has secretly taken notes of her friend's life to be used in a story with which she hopes to impress the literary club of her college.

This screw-ball comedy is fun to watch. Especially Greta Gerwig shines with bubbly energy showing all the erratic sides of her character. Is Brooke just a shallow self-absorbed woman, easily telling a lie or a half-truth? Is she a fraud or is she just a lost soul hiding behind her activities?  (Birgit Schrumpf)

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