Title: Maggie’s Plan
Language: English, Danish
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Director/Writer: Rebecca Miller
based on the story by Karen Rinaldi
Music: Michael Rohatyn
Cinematography: Sam Levy
Just when Maggie (Gerwig) decides to embrace motherhood on her own terms (with a little extra help from a semen donor), a modern trend for independent New Yorker women, she meets an adjunct professor John (Hawkes) in the university where they both work, the latter is a ficto-critical anthropologist (I have no idea what does that mean), a married man who reaches a lull in his academic pursuit, and decides to write a novel based on his tilted marriage life with Georgette (Moore), a tenured professor in Columbia University, a careerist who constantly neglects John’s straightjacketed self-esteem and ambition.
To John, Maggie becomes his savior from a marital cul-de-sac, she encourages and inspires him to write his novel, becomes his first reader and literally admires his creation, and after a (seemingly) botched self-inseminating attempt, Maggie gets a heartfelt confession from John, who wants to have babies and spend the rest of his life with her. Maggie caves in and she is officially a home-wrecker. Then the film fast-forwards three years, now John and Maggie has formed their nuclear family, with a toddler daughter Lily (Rohatyn). But Maggie starts to fall out of love with John, feeling trapped by maternal obligations, especially when she has to put off her own business in order to be a childminder including the other two step-children from John’s previous marriage, meanwhile John can easily get away with all-too-easy nonchalance.
So Maggie has another plan, taking cues from John and Georgette’s amiable bond even after their breakup, she senses that they may still cleave to each other, driven by a somewhat self-serving but also incredibly frank urge, she arbitrarily suggests to Georgette that she should take John back, that is Maggie, who is so truthful with her feelings and tries very hard to seek a satisfying solution for everyone even if she has to be out on a limb to do something improper and highly manipulative. And for christ’s sake, Georgette agrees nevertheless, let’s talk about Moore for a minute, on paper, Georgette doesn’t look good, firstly, she should be partially responsible for the disintegration of her marriage in spite of being a victim in the aftermath, then she is weirdly on board with Maggie’s capricious plan to get back the man who deserts her at the first place, because of what? Not to mention, when it duly backfires, she is just another scheming accomplice, that would certainly piss off ardent feminists, but, in Moore’s faintly sardonic interpretation (who sports a bizarrely funny, supposed Danish accent) and director Rebecca Miller’s sensitively integrated screenplay, Georgette’s decision to reignite the affair with John has coursed through a more internally vacillating process which in the long run, self-revealingly vindicates the outcome, the subtext is that: I want you back as my husband, but I can also live without you.
Greta Gerwig continues to expand her repertoire with her extra-affable persona, her Maggie is a seriously true-to-herself, but also altruistic enough to be vulnerable and defenseless when something goes against her plans, there is an intimate parenting situation between the other woman and a self-acclaimed non-scorned ex-wife, and Miller admirably leaves something very mischievous with a whimsical touch, which is barely presented on the screen for that particular connection, essentially, the core trio of the cast is so naturalistic in their intelligentsia comfort zone.
Better known as the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter Arthur Miller, or Ms. Daniel Day-Lewis, Rebecca Miller has quietly accumulated her filmic works up to No. 5 with MAGGIE’S PLAN, which tackles with the platitudinous but essential relationship hurdles among those seemingly more cerebral sorts on a modest tableau, pulses with her own distaff-empowering correctness to commands a winningly exhaustive character study on one’s not-too-fabricated frame of mind in today’s climate. She should be acclaimed more for her hipster sagacity and gentle approach which she has honed so well through her unheralded career orbit.