Now playing in select theaters, Mistress America centers on a Tracy (Lola Kirke), a sheltered college freshman who finally breaks out of her shell after socializing with her extroverted soon-to-be stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig). This New York based feature is directed by Noah Baumbach, who previously worked with Gerwig on Greenberg and Frances Ha.
Part of Mistress America’s appeal lies in Gerwig’s charismatic performance (she’s the closest thing we’ve got to a modern day Carole Lombard and Judy Holliday ) as Brooke, an unpredictable go-getter and dreamer whose cockamamie get rich quick schemes usually leaves her behind the eight ball.
Brooke’s biggest ambition is to open a restaurant that will also serve as a salon and neighborhood gathering. In her mind, the venue’s chefs will make specialized meals after their shift with and dine with the restaurant’s most loyal customers. It’s also a place where children may have their own special section to lounge and play and, in the long run, generations of families will remember the restaurant as more than just a place to meet.
This idealistic vision of a restaurant, though romantic and noble, possibly wouldn’t cut it as a business venture, especially considering Brooke’s propensity for not following through her previous career ventures. Though Gerwig, who also co-wrote the script, puts Brooke’s flaws on full display, she also relates to her dream of creating a better place:
“I felt very connected to what she was talking about . . . I’m a big believer in communal art and using art not in just a way to make a product that is sold to people but to make it an experience that is shared by the people who make it and the people who see it”
To hear Greta Gerwig talk about Brooke’s grand vision as a restaurateur in Mistress America, check out the audio clip below:
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