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Tribeca 2012: Lola Versus

The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 18th to April 29th. Jeff Hart and Jeremiah White are there and will be seeing a shitload of movies.

Lola Versus would work as a complimentary double feature partner for Take This Waltz (another film we reviewed during Tribeca). Both star indie darlings as hipsters trying to sort out their feelings. More importantly, both films take the traditional relationship melan-comedy and surgically remove the expectation that an adoring partner is key to a happy life.

Greta Gerwig stars as the titular Lola who is dumped by her boyfriend (Joel Kinnaman) three weeks before their wedding. Along with best friends Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Henry (Hamish Linklater), Lola embarks on a year of desperate self-discovery. Her journey is less Eat Pray Love and more panic attacks and sleeping around which, as far as I’m concerned, makes it infinitely more relatable.

Here’s the part of the review where I sing the praises of Zoe Lister-Jones. Currently cashing big checks for playing second banana to Whitney Cummings on the intolerable Whitney, Lister-Jones first came to my attention during last year’s Tribeca film festival when she starred in Stuck Between Stations, a smart “one night together” indie dramedy that unfortunately never made it off the festival circuit. Although here she finds herself in the role of comedic sidekick instead of romantic lead, Lola Versus still marks a second successful Tribeca for Lister-Jones. While her performance as Gerwig’s aspiring actress pillhead best friend is great, it is Lister-Jones’ behind the scenes work that really shines through.

Lister-Jones co-wrote Lola Versus with director Daryl Wein (the pair previously collaborated on the indie relationship comedy Breaking Upwards). As writers, they certainly have a wheelhouse – late twenties yuppies suffering through big city malaise – but man, do they have that nailed. Lola Versus is carried by its sharp dialogue, particularly the comic exchanges between Gerwig and Lister-Jones. It doesn’t suffer from post-Garden State indie-cutesiness either; these feel like real people.

I’ve always felt that we men have a canon of solid relationship movies, even if we’d never admit that’s what they are (High Fidelity, Swingers, etc). A similar canon of cool relationship flicks for women seems a lot harder to nail down, maybe because I’m missing the appeal of Sex and the City or, I don’t know, My Best Friend’s Wedding. With Lola Versus (also a good companion for HBO’s Girls, now that I think of it) maybe the canon for women is opening up, getting smarter, while also becoming less saccharine and pandering. Or maybe I’ve just missed all the good chick flicks until now.

VERDICT:  See it.

Lola versus plum button-downs.

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6 Responses »

  1. This entire film was a great place to catch a nap. Seen it all before and done way better than the untalented Greta. She is over rated and she has no place in this film. It is obvious to me that she cannot act.
    Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein did a fine job of this but why on earth would they work with such a bad actor?
    The writing was also underdeveloped and not bringing anything new to the table. This film did not need to be made but it was not complete trash...just not worth watching. What is trash would be the excuse of an actress Greta Gerwig. Can somebody PLEASE speak the truth and just say how much she sucks.

  2. Poor Greta! I hope she never reads this and that she's agile enough to slip away from your knife when you lunge out of her bushes.

  3. Agree with boringbboy. Greta in unattractive and a bad actress. The only reason she's been getting mainstream parts is because she's been sleeping with Noah Baumbach, who left his wife while directing Greta in Greenberg.


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