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Review: Maggie's Plan

From the pen and direction of Rebecca Miller comes a lighthearted, jaunting depiction of the phrase "It's complicated" -- a film entitled MAGGIE'S PLAN, with Greta Gerwig as the title role.


Maggie is in her twenties, and wants a kid now. She doesn't want to wait until she is old and desperate enough to have to "resort" to artificial insemination -- she just wants to do it now, so that it's a choice. Her best friend, Tony (Bill Hader) is directly against this idea, telling her she should wait; but she has already found someone willing to donate his sperm -- a math major-turned pickle salesman named Guy, whose over-eagerness somehow trumps his social awkwardness.


Maggie meets John Harding (Ethan Hawke) when she accidentally receives his check from the university they both work at. She soon learns that John is the "bad boy of fictocritical anthropology", and is stuck in a crumbling marriage with Georgette (Julianne Moore), a French woman in the same field who breaks out in hives at the slightest stress. When John approaches Maggie with the first chapters of the book he is writing (which is essentially modeled after his own life), the two begin a spiraling relationship that leads to an affair and, ultimately, Maggie's disposal of the artificial insemination idea in favor of having a child with John.

But here's where things begin to get crazy. The story abruptly hops to three years later, when Maggie has discovered John's selfishness and her own desire to be free of their relationship. So, with the help of Georgette, she devises a plan to kindly rid herself of him.

The plot is a bit jumbled at points, and certainly has its faults -- almost immediately we get an earful of exposition, and there are moments when the dialogue doesn't visually match the emotions portrayed by the cast -- but the story is so charming and meandering, it works. It is genuinely entertaining, with the same off-kilter energy that Gerwig has laced into all of her performances. Moore will simultaneously make you laugh and sympathize, and Hader and Maya Rudolph strike a match as Maggie's married best friends. The characters in this film are larger than life, make no mistake -- but they all hold enough of a nugget of truth that they are relatable and likeable.

MAGGIE'S PLAN will make you laugh, and reflects the ever-so human quality that humans boast in trying to control the people around you. The film starts June 10 at Midtown Cinema!

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