Movie Review: Mistress America

It’s not often that a film is able to capture the very essence of self-discovery, but Mistress America does just that – and does it with a healthy dose of humor.

Our Her Campus UIC team was invited to a pre-screening of Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s latest project, Mistress America, a film about a young woman named Tracy (Lola Kirke) who is in her first year of college in New York City and is inspired and fascinated by the presence of her soon-to-be step-sister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig). Brooke is everything a young collegiate New Yorker could possibly want to be, but she’s slightly past her prime; at 30, she’s trying to hang onto her youth while also attempting to make it as an adult in the real world. At the same time, Tracy is new to city life and is a little lost and lonely, so she latches onto Brooke as her guiding light, and is inspired by her constant adventures and recurring failures, which prompt her to pen a short story with a Brooke-inspired character as the would-be heroine.

The storyline is amped up by the hilariously clever script penned by Baumbach and Gerwig, who previously wrote Frances Ha together. The characters are the kinds of people you hear crazy secondhand stories about but never actually meet. Brooke is every millennial’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl: she’s a free spirit who is the center of attention at every party, takes social media very seriously, and has a multitude of half-baked great ideas that she never fully commits to. Tracy is the spitting image of a hipster college student who hasn’t quite found herself yet and isn’t sure of her place, so she emulates the people she looks up to the most. The supporting characters are similarly well written, and the dialogue is witty and clever with shocking, laugh-out-loud one-liners that are perfectly timed and delivered by the cast. Leading ladies Gerwig and Kirke give stellar performances individually and together, which gives their on-screen friendship a believable quality.

Overall, it’s refreshing to see a story that both glorifies and teases millennial culture without being pretentious. Mistress America is unique, genuinely funny, and intelligent, so if you’re looking for a film to get you in the mood for the upcoming semester, this one might just be perfect! Mistress America hits theatres on Friday, August 21st, so don’t miss it! 

Watch the trailer here.