Maggie is a good person. Really. All she wants to do is have a baby on her own and live a simple life in New York City.
But then she meets John, a professor and writer, who appeals to her on every level imaginable. She’s not even terribly bothered by the fact that he’s married – predictably, his wife Georgette is a creativity-stifling ice queen who just doesn’t appreciate her husband’s genius. The feelings are mutual and soon John leaves his wife to marry Maggie.
But a few years later, John’s looking a little less brilliant and a little more self-involved. He does nothing but work on his book while Maggie does all the housework and the bulk of the parenting of their toddler and his kids from his marriage to Georgette. Who’s also still very much in the picture. Having had about enough, Maggie realizes that John and Georgette were actually perfect for each other and she hatches a plan to reconnect the two and go back to her original life plan.
Written and directed by Rebecca Miller, Maggie’s Plan stars Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel and is an off-beat comedy that puts an interesting spin on the traditional rom-com. The film was a special presentation at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and opened in Toronto on June 10.
In a recent interview, Miller spoke about her female lead, saying “It was just such a pleasure to work with Greta for what was really a year before we shot. By the time we got on set, we knew the characters so well. She was in the character. “Maggie” had been created in layers over many months, partly over conversations between us and partly with her own creative process. She wasn’t involved on a writing level, in the sense of dialogue, but she was very involved in really interpreting this person and all her little ways and details – figuring out things like “how does she walk” or “how does she physically express herself in the world”. Greta’s a very physical actor – her acting is in her whole body. But she also has an extremely expressive face – if you look at her face, you just always know where you are in the movie. You always know what she feels. And that’s a wonderful quality.”
The whole “single girl in New York” storyline dates back decades to films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and of course more “recent” series like Sex and the City. So how did Miller want to put a fresh spin on a classic story?
“This is partly a movie about just our moment, you know?” she explains. “How do you have a family in this modern moment when we can have it in so many different ways? Maggie’s a person who has a deep instinct to be a parent, a mother – but doesn’t necessarily believe that she’s ready to be in a permanent relationship. How can you get both of those, but not at the same time? I think that’s at the heart of her initial dilemma.”
Maggie’s Plan is now playing in Toronto at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP theatre.