This Way Out

Gerwig gets Gen-Y right in a flawed-but-fun rom-com

Film by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Maggie’s Plan
RPL Film Theatre
Opens July 21
3 out of 5

Actress Greta Gerwig is her own subgenre. Part manic pixie dream girl, part procrastination incarnated, Gerwig is particularly good at diving into the darkest corners of Gen-Y. In fact, her film Frances Ha is the definitive portrait of the stereotypical millennial: egotistical, adrift and inexplicably content.

Maggie’s Plan uses the Gerwig persona to answer what happens when the wandering hipster decides to settle down: The Maggie of the title has decided it’s time to have a baby. As she proceeds with her artificial insemination plans, Maggie becomes besotted with a married teacher, John (Ethan Hawke).

The first half of the film develops more or less predictably: John, taken for granted by his more successful wife (Julianne Moore), develops feelings for Maggie and his marriage dissolves. But then the movie cuts to three years later. Maggie and John are together and have a three-year old. Now John’s the one so focused on his career he’s letting his relationship wither. Maggie begins to wonder if the union she meddled with in the first place should be mended.

A plan is crafted.

As romantic comedies go, Maggie’s Plan is original and entertaining. Considering the lack of female voices in Hollywood, writer-director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity) brings a refreshing perspective to a trite and often unbearable genre. In Maggie’s Plan, relationships are intrinsically unbalanced and one has to claim a role (the gardener or the rose) to succeed. Not the most comfortable moral, but there’s truth to it.