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Movie Breakdown: Maggie’s Plan

June 7, 2016


Pre-Screening Stance:

I haven’t seen any of writer/director Rebecca Miller’s other films, and Greta Gerwig has always been very hit or miss for me.  With that being said, Maggie’s Plan looks like the sort of light-hearted, borderline silly indie fare that I often dig.  Plus, I feel safe in assuming that a film featuring Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and Julianne Moore will end up being worth my time.

Post-Screening Ramble:

In a lot of ways, Maggie’s Plan is exactly what I expected.  Maggie (Greta Gerwig as Greta Gerwig) is a sweet but unknowingly self-centered and naive woman who desperately wants to have a baby, but she doesn’t want to be in a relationship, as she’s never had one that’s worked.  So, she gets artificially inseminated and then goes about living a happy and fulfilled life?  Nope!  She meets a married man named John (Ethan Hawke as Ethan Hawke), falls in love and then starts a family in the exact way she wanted to avoid.  For a while things are fine, but then Maggie realizes that she’s no longer in love with her sweet but unknowingly self-centered and naive husband, so she launches a plan to trick him into returning to his handful of an ex-wife Georgette (a clearly inspired Julianne Moore), who he has never quite moved on from.  Yes, it’s as zany and goofy as it sounds, but here’s what surprised me about the film – there’s an overarching theme throughout it that aims to remind us all that while it may not look like it to me or you, some people are just supposed to be together.  Maggie and John aren’t unhappy, but they’re good friends at best because he and Georgette, despite their seemingly obtuse relationship, share a type of bond that can’t be explained.  It’s there, it’s real and it works in a way that makes each person better than they’d be on their own or with anyone else.  That’s just life, man.  Kudos to writer/director Rebecca Miller for packing a lunchbox full of truth roll-up in her charming little indie comedy.  See her film when you can.

One Last Thought:

In Maggie’s Plan there’s a cameo by Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin) where she covers Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark, and I found it to be both somewhat jarring and kind of right.  Here’s the official version, if you want to check it out for yourself.

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