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Maggie's Plan - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Maggie's Plan
Directing: B
Acting: B
Writing: B
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+

Maggie's Plan isn't exactly outstanding. It's pretty good, though. It involves getting her husband back together with his ex-wife because she's falling out of love with him.

Greta Gerwig plays essentially the same person in all of her movies, a young woman with pluck that falls just short of quirky, but is barely holding it together emotionally. But she's always a winning screen presence, even if her charm is inextricably tied to her characters' persistent detachment. She's the type of personality you love or hate. I always enjoy watching her.

The story here is predictable, but it also exists in a comfortably realistic space rarely seen in film, when it comes to love and relationships. Maggie (Gerwig) is still best friends with her college boyfriend (Bill Hader), and he gets possibly the best line in the movie when he tells her he and his wife fall in and out of love every week. He's representing a committed, long-term relationship that, so far, has continued because they are committed to pushing through the inevitable bullshit. And not enough movies acknowledge the inevitable bullshit.

Granted, Maggie creates a lot of bullshit well on her own. She's decided she wants a baby, and has found an acquaintance to donate sperm for her. Right around the same time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke), who works at the university where she works. He's married to a singularly odd woman named Georgette, who he's grown tired of, and he falls for Maggie. Julianne Moore plays Georgette with an inexplicable accent that adds nothing to the character or the movie, and sounds like it's half speech impediment. This is a very odd choice for Julianne Moore, who otherwise gives the performance the usual quality. But it's hard to get past that accent.

Maggie talks a lot about how incapable she is of staying in love with someone. She seems to be the only one who doesn't understand that this happens to us all, that the only way for a relationship to last is to soldier through the out-of-love periods. "Love is messy," her friends tell her. It's kind of a cliche but Maggie's Plan conveys its truth. It also oversimplifies things a bit, but it makes its point.

There's no great depth to Maggie's Plan, but it's a pleasant enough diversion. It has a fun supporting cast that also includes Maya Rudolph as Bill Hader's wife. They make a good, messy couple. And they're not even that messy. They are two people partly resigned to each other's bullshit. They barely stop themselves from rolling their eyes at Maggie and John. To this movie's credit, though, every cast member is as engaging as the next -- even Julianne Moore, who here occupies an unusual space between intellectual and pretentious. I suppose that accent is meant to make her more interesting. That's the one thing that fails.

The rest of it, though, is a story that would have done well to be more challenging than it is, but entertains all the same.

Greta Gerwig and Julianne Moore conspire on MAGGIE'S PLAN.

Overall: B
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