Mistress America Blu-ray Review: The Voice of a Generation

I am a really big fan of indie films, films that rely on characters and their issues, rather than special effects and explosions. The films of director Noah Baumbach, and especially those with his girlfriend, co-writer, and current muse, Greta Gerwig, actually quenches my thirst for understanding people and their flaws. With Greenberg and Frances Ha, Gerwig has been establishing herself as the indie ‘It’ girl for quirky, but modern women trying to comes to terms with their real selves, while dealing with their hangups, as well as those of the people around them. The more I see her in movies, the bigger the fan I’m becoming, because she represents naturalism and personality, a few important factors that most actresses her age severely lack. She isn’t afraid to be herself, nor look unconventional. With this year’s Mistress America, she in my opinion, has become the voice of her generation.

She plays, or basically inhabits the role as Brooke, a fast paced Manhattanite with various roles as interior decorator, spin teacher, and groupie who speeds through life and doesn’t care about the repercussions. This is something that Tracy, her waifish soon-to-be stepsister and college freshman, instantly admires about her, especially after meeting her for the first time in Times Square. From then on, Brooke takes her on a whirlwind journey through New York’s after hours clubs, bars and everything else in-between. However, when the harsh realities of life start to sink in, and Tracy finds out that Brooke isn’t as put together nor complete as she thinks she is, they both have to rethink their priorities in order to find at least some of the missing pieces of the puzzle that is life.

Although Baumbach’s films are a somewhat acquired taste, and his characters don’t speak or behave like ‘normal’ people in real life, they are still quite unique because they don’t unfold in the usual way that audiences are used to, and he obsesses more about the sometimes hilarious complexities of youth that compares him to Whit Stillman (Metropolitian, Damsels in Distress), another famous indie director who loves the younger generation and its quirks. The dialogue is rather well-written and sophisticated, not just because of its instant quotable literacy, but because of its painful honesty, which makes all the more human. In this case, I am also becoming a big fan of his as well.

For a film of this caliber, the special features are disappointingly light. They just consist of three very short promotional featurettes: Story, Brooke, and Tracy; a gallery, and the theatrical trailer. There are also sneak peeks of other film from Fox such as Brooklyn; Paper Towns; Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, and He Named Me Malala.

Overall, despite the limited amount of supplements, I truly loved the movie and I will probably revisit it because it is a well-acted, and is exceptionally wry depiction of young people, their hopes and dreams, as well as the overwhelming beauty of New York.

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