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FILM | REVIEW

THE MAGIC LANTERN FRI SEPT 4TH - THUR SEPT 10TH PHOENIX (98 MIN) Fri/Sat: 12:00, 2:00, 6:15 Sun/Mon: 11:00(am), 1:00, 5:15 Tues-Thurs: 4:15, 6:30 MERU (87 MIN) Fri/Sat: 3:30, 5:30, 8:30 Sun/Mon: 1:30, 3:30, 7:30 Tues-Thurs: 5:15, 7:00 MR HOLMES (100 MIN) *weekend only! Fri/Sat: 4:00 Sun/Mon: 3:00 AMY (124 MIN) *weekend only! Fri/Sat: 7:15 Sun/Mon: 5:15 25 W Main Ave • 509-209-2383 • All Shows $8 www.magiclanternspokane.com

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NO ESCAPE

Greta Gerwig teams up once again with Noah Baumbach in Mistress America.

Living in a Song Noam Baumbach and Greta Gerwig gives us a familiar yet engaging story in Mistress America BY KIMBERLEY JONES

I

n Noah Baumbach’s second release in one of Brooke’s seemingly charmed, quasi-boho lifecalendar year, following the bitter-tasting, style. But Tracy’s also a sponge, and a cutthroat. olds-against-the-millennials comedy While Like every writer, she steals her stories from real We’re Young, he and co-screenwriter/star Greta life, and she rightly suspects Brooke will make Gerwig borrow bullet points from Breakfast at for a hell of a story. Tiffany’s: A naïf writer falls under the spell of a When Gerwig is in the frame, the film has an self-invented Manhattan party girl who scrapes antic — sometimes frantic — screwball vibe, melby on the largesse of others. lowed only by the terrific, 1980s-slanting synth Gerwig plays Brooke, the Holly Golightly score by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips. She type, getting a little long in the tooth. In their can be a bit much, the chaos that surrounds her previous collaboration, Frances Ha, Baumbach a bit cartoonish, and the filmmakers are savvy and Gerwig dreamt up a woman defined by her to that fact. This isn’t Brooke’s story, and that’s free-wheeling spirit; in contrast, a good thing. A muse is only MISTRESS AMERICA as interesting as her impact Gerwig’s character here is bursting Rated R with plans — for an ironic T-shirt on the artist — and we glean Directed by Noah Baumbach line, a TV show, a restaurantenough from Tracy’s writing, Starring Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, slash-barbershop-slash-commuand from Kirke’s portrayal Matthew Shear nity center — but deflates on the (age-appropriate immature, follow-through. Yet Brooke moves but alert and cautiously lickthrough the world with the confidence of someing the edge of transgressive) to sense she’s a one who’s certain she’s destined for greatness. real talent in the making. Mistress America may be She’s her own unreliable narrator. Baumbach’s most probing consideration of the Brooke is a great character, and Tracy (Lola writer’s process and development, a continuing Kirke), a hopeful writer, is smart to spark to point of interest in his filmography, from Kicking her. A freshman at Barnard College, she aims and Screaming to The Squid and the Whale and Marto gain admittance to a secret, briefcase-toting got at the Wedding. literary society, in a subplot dressed in the “We look like we’re in a song,” Tracy deadpan-bemused tonality tics of Wes Anderson, observes in a scenic moment shared with a classanother sometimes-collaborator of Baumbach’s. mate. It’s a moment in which she plausibly might When Tracy first meets Brooke — her soon-to-be have been kissed. But she pauses it to reframe stepsister, in what appears to be a hasty marriage real-life experience through the prism of art, between Tracy’s divorced mom and Brooke’s something she’ll do again and again — owl-eyed widower father — her eyes are wide with the thrill and present, but removed. She’s a born writer. n

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