TIFF Review: Maggie's Plan
Julianne Moore has Freeheld and Maggie’s Plan at TIFF this year. Julianne and Ethan Hawke were shooting Maggie's Plan at a Brooklyn ice rink barely 36 hours after they were on the Oscar red carpet in February.
That's an instant humbling, isn't it? To leave the Oscars, leave the gifting suites and the Vanity Fair parties to schlep home to Brooklyn, gear up for winter and skate with Greta Gerwig and child actors, on camera. Anyway, Maggie’s Plan arrived at TIFF shrouded in secrecy with no trailer, only a brief synopsis and some paparazzi photos from after the Oscars. But, would you have expected Maggie’s Plan to be Julianne’s better movie at TIFF? Better than Freeheld? Because it is. It’s so much better.
Rebecca Miller writes and directs the movie, about a woman (Maggie - Greta) who is so desperate to have a baby, she’s soliciting offers from hipster pickle vendors in the park. Soon, she starts having an affair with married man and struggling novelist John (Ethan Hawke), and yada yada yada, they tie the knot. After she finally has a baby, and encourages him to start writing again, she starts to feel like his “intern or his nanny” instead of his wife or lover. Her stepkids don’t really like her either. The eldest has lines like, “you’re like a dog. You love whoever feeds you.”
So she goes to his ex-wife, Georgette (Julianne), a patronizing German academic with a stone-cold exterior and love of top knots. Together, with Georgette and her ragtag team of BFFs – played by Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) – they devise a plan to hook her husband back up with Georgette so she can feel less guilt about leaving John, their blended family and his likely-to-be abandoned novel.
Sample Bill Hader line: “Why can’t you just not give a sh-t and leave your husband like a normal person?”
The goal is to trap Georgette and John at a conference in rural Quebec and hope they f-ck like rabbits and reconcile. Naturally, antics ensue.
This screwball comedy is HILARIOUS in the Nicole Holofcener meets Coen brothers vein. If you loved Please Give, Friends with Money, Intolerable Cruelty (is it good? I can never tell. I remember the luggage but always watch it when it’s on) or Carnage, add a dash of 30 Rock in and you would love Maggie’s Plan. It’s very Shakespearean, and Julianne has not been this funny since The Big Lebowski. Or…perhaps… The Forgotten. Depends on your taste.
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