Hannah Takes the Stairs

4 out of 5 stars

Hey, have you heard about the American New Wave—snarkily dubbed mumblecore—that’s all the rage on the lo-fi circuit? Though the members of the ’core’s loose collective don’t share a home base, their movies all take place in Whateversville, USA, a slacker Sioux Nation populated by underfurnished apartments and emotionally undernourished twentysomethings. Whether Gen Y(ouTube) aesthetics and angst are enough to fuel a bona fide movement is debatable, but you couldn’t ask for a better entrée to the genre than Joe Swanberg’s ode to love in the time of cultural distraction. Like kindred spirit (and the film’s costar) Andrew Bujalski, Swanberg nails the stop-start rhythms of idle hipsters in their natural habitats. His character study also has a shaggy-dog charm that could turn cynics about this newfangled “scene” into converts overnight.

Hannah (Gerwig) has a bit of a relationship problem: Her boyfriend (Duplass) has realized that all he wants to do is nothing whatsoever. After one of the most painful breakup sequences in recent memory, she hooks up with her superviser (Bujalski) at a TV production studio. Then the boss’s blog begets a book deal, and the now-lonely Hannah seeks solace in the arms of his writing partner (Osborne). Though the overall self-indulgence meter creeps perilously close to the red at times, credit Gerwig for turning her terminally anxious character into a poster girl for an entire subset of young women on the verge. Every generation gets the Darling they deserve. We now have ours.


Release details

0 mins

Cast and crew

Joe Swanberg
Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Kent Osborne
Greta Gerwig
Andrew Bujalski
Mark Duplass
Kent Osborne
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