This is the second of two films by writer/director Noah Baumbach to be released in 2015. He re-teams with his muse Greta Gerwig who also shares writing credits. Like most of Baumbach's films "Mistress America" takes place in
New York City and involves a woman's battle for personal identity and direction in life.
Brooke is a thirty-something woman living in
New York City. Her positive attitude and outgoing personality deceptively hide her directionless mess of a life. She is ambitious but not very successful as her dreams often exceed her grasp. When she finds out that her father is getting remarried she is excited that she will be gaining a younger step-sister. Tracy, played by Lola Kirke, is an eighteen-year-old college freshman who wants to be a writer and has dreams of being chosen to join the prestigious Mobius Literary Society. A group of pretentious douche bags where good writing seems to be of little importance. Tracy is smart and reserved but underneath lies a very dogged personality.
Brooke seeks out
Tracy and they instantly start to bond. The dialogue is pretty amazing as the words spill out of Brooke as if her brain was on fire. With her disjointed and often quirky stories, Tracy begins writing it all down and starts a story called "Mistress America". Her youthful ambition is something that Brooke yearns for. A chance to restart her adult life. Although Brooke refuses to let her dream of becoming a dancer go and it's painful to watch it slip by as she desperately tries to hold on. She has several odd jobs to pay the bills but it's just not cutting it as she couch surfs at many friends' apartments. The film is actually separated with title cards of the different addresses she is currently living at.
After the financing for Brooke's other dream of opening her own restaurant falls through she takes
Tracy on a mission to meet an estranged friend, Mamie-Claire. Brooke claims that Mamie-Claire stole some of her ideas when they were roommates in college and she made a ton of money off of them. They drive to an extravagant mansion in Connecticut where they run into a whole new batch of problems and situations. The whole movie especially the scenes at Mamie Claire's feels like a play rather than a movie. It feels a little staged and rehearsed but the dialogue is spot on and it is pretty funny.