IN THEATERS – “Mistress America”

indexMistress America (2015; Dir.: Noah Baumbach)

GRADE: A-

By Daniel Barnes

After the entertaining but unfocused mixed bag of While we’re Young, Noah Baumbach gets back to top form with the utterly charming Mistress America, co-written with and starring Greta Gerwig. She gives a towering, all-the-awards-worthy performance as Brooke, an ambitious, pretentious, blindly outgoing and borderline bipolar free spirit who draws her prospective sister-in-law Tracy (Lola Kirke, also excellent as this lonely and impressionable college student) into her tractor beam of self-delusion. As played by Gerwig, Brooke is a hipster Holly Golightly for the Twitter age with the theatrical bluster of Auntie Mame and the fashion sense of Annie Hall – anyone who doesn’t find her absolutely delightful here can go fly a kite. Mistress America combines the millennial narcissism of Frances Ha with the jaundiced observation of Greenberg and pitches it at the speed of screwball comedy, resulting in a sharp, funny film about female friendship dynamics, with maybe more quotable lines per second than any American movie since Anchorman.  Also: Hot Chocolate!