Mistress America is a Refreshing, Upbeat Comedy
We’re all familiar with the played-out “my parent is getting remarried and now I have to learn to get along with my terrible new step-siblings, ugh” plotline. I’m here to happily tell you that Mistress America does not follow that structure. Although Tracy’s mom and Brooke’s dad are planning to get married, the two girls who are basically strangers find that they have quite a bit in common.
Tracy is an 18-year-old girl starting college in New York City, and it’s not going well for her – she hasn’t made any friends, and she’s been unsuccessful at trying to get into her school’s elite writing society. She doesn’t quite feel like she belongs in the city – that is, until she decides to take her mom’s advice and call up her soon-to-be sister, Brooke, who also lives in the city. Although Brooke is about 10 years older than Tracy, she’s excited to show her around and take her along on her crazy adventures. Brooke is just one of those girls who is friends with everybody and lives life to the fullest. She has a ton of projects and jobs on the go, the latest one being a restaurant she wants to open up. She already has a bunch of investors locked in, but when the most influential one drops out, she has to go looking for money in unexpected places.
I think that the casting in this movie was very well done. Greta Gerwig, who played open and adventurous Brooke, did a fantastic job. Her character was very believable and very funny. Lola Kirke, who played Tracy, also did a good job in her role, but it’s hard to stand next to a character who’s basically the definition of whimsical and still stand out. Basically, Greta was the star of the show, despite not actually being the main character. I was surprised to see Michael Chernus as Brooke’s ex-fiancé, Dylan. I know him as Piper’s brother from Orange is the New Black, Cal, and he plays a slightly toned-down but similarly impressionable and slightly incompetent character in this movie. So, at least he was recognizable!
I really liked the way that even though Tracy was initially nervous to contact Brooke, that tension was instantly broken by the way the two characters interacted. They spoke almost as if they were old friends – there wasn’t a hint of awkwardness in their conversations. Although this was a little bit unbelievable, it just goes along with the rest of Brooke’s personality, as well as the cinematic style of the film. A lot of the movie seemed to have this farce comedy-like overtone, where actions and interactions were exaggerated and so unbelievable they were hilarious. I was kind of confused at first, but once I got the hang of it, I appreciated the stylistic choice. There were also narrations from Tracy’s story (the one she submitted to the writing society at her school) overlaid onto parts of the movie, which I thought added a cool depth to the film.
Overall, this was a movie about learning to pick your battles – when to go for what you want, and when to know it’s time to call it quits and start over. Brooke’s personality and hope was refreshing and genuine, something you don’t see a lot in movies, and Tracy’s wise but innocent outlook was admirable. It really was sweet to watch the two characters bond. Plus, the movie was full of laughs, and that’s never a bad thing. I’d definitely recommend Mistress America if you’re looking for a movie that’s easy to watch and has an energizing style.
You can find Mistress America on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Nov.24th 2015 to March 31st, 2016.
Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor
Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.