Decent romantic comedies are an endangered species. It’s getting harder to spot one that isn’t clichéd and contrived, and doesn’t have you digging your fingernails into your palms with embarrassment. Which makes ‘Maggie’s Plan’ the snow leopard of romcoms: intelligent and screwball-funny with clever and complicated female characters.
Hipster goddess Greta Gerwig plays control freak Maggie, a New Yorker who has decided to have a baby on her own. But just as she’s about to do the deed with a DIY insemination kit she meets John (Ethan Hawke), a frustrated novelist. He’s married to a superstar academic, the glacial and terrifying Georgette (Julianne Moore, hilarious with an eccentric Danish accent).
At this point, director Rebecca Miller cleverly ditches the love triangle dramatics and leaps ahead two years. Maggie and John are married and have a delicious toddler. But marriage is not the happy-ever-after ending Maggie dreamed of. In her fantasy of the relationship, she was rescuing John from selfish Georgette so he could write his masterpiece. In reality, John is fannying around failing to finish his novel, while she is working, looking after their daughter and taking care of the kids from his first marriage. Maggie hatches a plan: why not give him back to his ex?
Miller is the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and is married to Daniel Day-Lewis. She totally nails the world of arty New York intellectuals (you might find some lines a bit precious). Finally, here’s a film that understands that out here in the real world the rule book has been rewritten.Relationship dynamics have changed: women don’t rely on men financially and have babies on their own. Maybe we need a new movie category? The split-com? The singlecom?