The great feat of making a quirky film is making it look like it just comes naturally. Many indies suffer from having extremely forced dialogue and storytelling, it is really hard to find a movie that can make its story seem natural. Maggie’s Plan thankfully seems like one of these exceptions, and the roster that is put together is a delight to watch.
Maggie’s Plan is about a girl named Maggie (Greta Gerwig) who teaches at The New School in New York. She’s always had trouble with relationships, but really wants to be a mother; so she decides to inseminate herself with the sperm of a math wiz turned pickle entrepreneur named Guy (Travis Fimmel) whom she knew from college. Maggie is all for going ahead with her plan to get pregnant, but she meets this other teacher at her job named John (Ethan Hawke). John is miserable, trying to write a book while being held down in misery by his self-centered wife Georgette (Julianne Moore). After some time together John and Maggie fall for each other and end up living together and having a child, but through the years they seem to fall out of love with and so Maggie hatches up a plan to get John back together with Georgette.
I apologize for spilling a lot of the film’s storyline, but I feel it’s necessary to see the intentions and direction that the script wanted to take. The screenplay is very satisfying and well structured, the dialogue never got too over-expository or cheesy, and it was smartly subtle in places. The story is well thought out and the characters seem unique and organic; but I feel that towards the end the movie it just kept gliding and maintaining a constant beat that, although it had worked for the first half of the film, it starts to bore the audience in the second half. The lack of a change of rhythm makes the film lose its pacing and the interest in the story and characters slips for the audience.
The cast was great, independent film helps some actors roam free and explore their range and depth. I certainly saw this most prominently in Julianne Moore, who looked like she was having the time of her life with her character, whom she made incredibly steely and gave a Danish accent. Ethan Hawke plays his character with the same enthusiasm as all his roles, and Greta Gerwig (a veteran already of the indie genre) is great and lively in the lead role.
In the end I quite enjoyed the film. It was a well-made independent film that is witty and made professionally. The filmmakers do lose their sense of purpose at the end, but it all wraps up just fine.