Mini-review: Mistress America

Directed by: Noah Baumbach

Written by: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke

As Brooke Catalinas – the titular Mistress America – Gerwig is almost as repulsive as she’s magnetic. Gerwig impressively develops her already glittering back catalogue of alter egos, effecting a turn of the screw with Brooke’s barely concealed bitterness.

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But Mistress America isn’t just about Gerwig. Unselfish writing allows a fresh new voice to emerge in Lola Kirke’s complexly realised Tracy. A new star is surely on the rise.

Like Frances Ha, this is a non-romantic love story between women, and it aptly captures Tracy’s undeniable girl crush. In her frankly lonely college experiences it also shares spirit with Whiplash.

Mistress America is far less cynical than While We’re Young, yet it’s hilarity, piquant catty rivalry, and Brooke’s straight-talking outer shell poignantly give way to some extremely sad observations.