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TIFF Review: Maggie’s Plan

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A young woman who is going to have artificial-insemination so she can have a child falls in love with a married and unhappy academic.

 A lonely Maggie (Greta Gerwig) is so determined to have a child that she seeks out a sperm donation from a pickle entrepreneur.  The plan is interrupted by the wannabe mother having a romance with an academic (Ethan Hawke) who has a self-absorbed and eccentric critical-theorist wife (Julianne Moore).  John divorces his spouse and marries Maggie who has given birth to a daughter; the only trouble is that he is self-centred and keeps regular contact with Georgette.  Maggie conspires to have her husband and former spouse reconnect with each other.

Maggie’s Plan has the quirkiness and relationship insights normally associated with the movies of Noah Baumbach (While We’re Young); however, in this case Rebecca Miller (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) is the one behind the camera.  The story hinges on Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) who imbues Maggie with an optimism that is both naïve and heartening.  Ethan Hawke (Dead Poets Society) plays John as a wayward soul while Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) boarders on becoming a caricature in her heavily accented performance as Georgette.

The musical score embellishes the off-kilter tone of the comedy.  There are over-the-top moments such as the Quebec academic conference that is stereotypical in depicting Canada as an untamed wintery wilderness.  A particular plot twist can either be seen as an easy escape route for the protagonist who has been placed in a rather difficult situation or a clever conclusion.  Maggie’s Plan is both funny and awkward which makes for an interesting dramatic and comedic mix that seems more cooked up than organic.

2.5 out of 5

 

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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