Movie ReviewsGood Plan (Maggie’s Plan Review)

Keith NoakesJuly 19, 2016

Maggie (Greta Gerwig), a young woman longing to start a family, becomes involved in a complicated love triangle with a struggling novelist named John (Ethan Hawke) and his haughty theorist wife Georgette (Julianne Moore). After a period of flirtation, John and Maggie fall in love and have a baby together, but their new life still leaves her unfulfilled.

I am a fan of all films, big or small. After watching those big-budget extravaganzas, it’s always nice to get a change of pace with this one. You don’t always need explosion or other various loud noises to make a film, sometimes a good cast and a good story work just as well. This one was looking right up my alley, at least after the first trailer, with a great cast with seemingly great chemistry and was funny. Certain films don’t always end up that way but that’s why you have to watch them as I have.

Early on we meet a woman named Maggie (Gerwig). She has hit a crossroads in her life, she wants to start a family but she also wants more control of her life so she decides to have herself inseminated with the help of a former acquaintance named Guy (Travis Fimmel). Things started to get complicated for Maggie once she meets a man named John (Hawke) for whom she falls in love and has a baby with. The special thing about this one was that based on the trailer, we already knew what was going to happen but the film got there a little too quickly which did not make it as believable. What complicated this even further for Maggie and John was John’s wife Georgette (Moore). For some strange reason, she had a weird accent which added nothing to her character or the film. Other characters made her out to be a terrible person but this wasn’t really the case. One of the main reasons John fell for Maggie in the first place was because of his dissatisfaction with his marriage but we never got a sense of it here.

While the film was primarily about Maggie, it also devoted some time to John and Georgette. They had decent chemistry which led to some good scenes but the film could have gone much further with this because as John ignored Georgette, so did the film. Despite not getting much screen time, she was a fun character whose accent helped with Moore’s great deadpan performance and added to the film’s general quirkiness. Pretty much every character had at least one quirk or another with the most normal character being Guy. Other kind of quirky characters were Maggie’s friends, a married couple named Tony (Bill Hader) and Felicia (Maya Rudolph). As the film did with Moore’s Georgette, Hader and Rudolph’s Tony and Felicia were probably unnecessary characters but felt wasted here, being used at cliche friend types.

Things started going downhill for Maggie when, three years later, with a baby and now married to John, she starts to fall out of love with him. Their marriage went pretty much the same way that John and Georgette’s marriage did. Maggie’s plan, hence the title, was to try to get John and Georgette back together. Again, the trailer also revealed this. This subplot started off well, giving us some decent Maggie and Georgette moments as well but as it started to fall apart for Maggie, the film soon followed suit. Of course nothing went along according to plan as it was unrealistic to think that one person can have complete control over any situation. Maggie eventually came to terms with this and the film did get better in time for the end. Maggie, as a character, was fun to watch as she went thought the film, avoiding a lot of the usual romance film cliches. The film achieves this through its script. Sure some of the situations feel contrived but was full of smart and relatable characters. The plot would have been clearer if it had more of a focus on Maggie herself because her intentions sometimes got lost among everything else going on.

Maggie was fun to watch because of Gerwig’s performance, bringing energy and charisma to the role. Hawke was also good as the needy John, despite having more chemistry with Moore’s Georgette than Gerwig’s Maggie. Moore was great and surprisingly funny here as Georgette, avoiding making the character sound like a caricature because of her accent. Hader and Rudolph were okay as Maggie’s friends. Fimmel was okay as Guy, playing the same subdued, almost quiet guy in almost every movie (that I’ve seen at least) but it worked here.

Overall, this was a good, smart romantic comedy with some good performances but could have tightened things up script-wise.

Score: 8/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.


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