In Rebecca Miller's witty romantic comedy, Maggie (Greta Gerwig) is a vibrant New Yorker, who without success in finding love, decides to have a child on her own. But when she meets John Harding (Ethan Hawke), an anthropology professor and struggling novelist, she falls in love for the first time. Complicating matters, John is in an unhappy marriage with Georgette (Julianne Moore), an ambitious academic who is driven by her work. With some help from Maggie's eccentric best friends, married couple Tony (Bill Hader) and Felicia (Maya Rudolph), Maggie sets in motion a new plan that intertwines their lives and connects them in surprising and humorous ways.
Maggie's Plan is THAT type of romantic comedy we’ve come to expect anytime Ethan Hawke’s name gets mentioned as one of the stars fulfilling cast vacancy during an otherwise artsy film draught. Maggie's Plan is ALSO that type of romantic comedy where people go around and spread seemingly nonsensical banter (a la Woody Allen style), which deeply underneath is still nonsensical, but funny. So, Maggie's Plan by Rebecca Miller is nonsensical and funny at the same time, without being too obnoxious like some of Allen’s pieces, while also being somewhat objectionably tricky. Confused much? Please bear with me and read along.
This charming piece of cinema is set in New York, in a metropolitan atmosphere that would elicit jealousy among suburban dwellers to a certain extent. The characters inhabiting mentioned area have it all: food, water, shelter, education, free time, money, health, even more free time and plenty of hobbies including, but not limited to writing for the sake of it and exercise. So, it’s only logical their only problems to involve love and to what extent one can singlehandedly raise a child.
Here enters Maggie (played by Great Gerwig), who not only wants to raise a kid, but is eager to do it without the involvement of a father. Therefore, she asks a friend to help her in her noble cause (by donating seeds, obviously), while she roams the streets and stumbles upon a certain professor John (Ethan Hawke), in your typical ‘boy meets girl’ plot we’ve all come to know and detest across the span of hundreds of clichéd variations of romantic comedies during centuries.
However, where Madame Bovary, Don Quixote and One Punch Man’s subversive message succeeds – Maggie’s Plan only continues the tradition by coiling its branches and extending said subversive tropes to further truths. For example, in an instance that should represent Hawke’s character unwillingness to cheat (he’s married btw), events unravel in such a way as to break all stereotypes of the romantic essence – whatever that may be and wherever it may finally lead.
And, more or less, it leads John right out of both previously open doors.
By no means has Maggie’s Plan copied life. Nor life ever wanted to be like Rebecca Miller’s feature in any way imaginable. It’s unrealistic and it romanticizes few things that don’t go well with real humans, i.e. when to enemies band together aiming to accomplish same goals. Long story short: Maggie’s Plan has every right to be subversive as it is, and who are we to think it should structure its plot otherwise?
In summarizing this particular feature, two words can be used: indie and subversive. But then again, aren’t all indies supposed to be that way?