With a naturalistic acting style and a penchant for making everyday situations cinematic relatable, Greta Gerwig has become one of the most prominent figures of the so-called “mumblecore” movement. She has worked with directors like Joe Swanberg and the Duplass Brothers on some of the movement’s defining films. New York Times Critic AO Scott described Gerwig as an “ambassador of a cinematic style that often seems opposed to the very idea of ​​style.”

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A little less than a decade after co-directing Nights and weekends with Swanberg, Gerwig made her debut as a solo director with the coming-of-age gem Lady Bird, whose success quickly made her one of Hollywood’s most sought-after filmmakers.

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With his early efforts as a solo director, Gerwig complemented his own style. Unlike the improvised conversations of her early mumblecore debut, Gerwig’s dialogue is meticulously scripted – but part of its charm is that it feels spontaneous and improvised. Gerwig pulls laughs out of delicate, subtle moments of human behavior as opposed to the nose-sighted gags and big swing one-liners found in studio comedies. With her latest screenplays, Gerwig has carved out a niche for herself by writing love stories about unromantic love.



Frances and Sophie drinking on the fire escape in Frances Ha

After playing alongside Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach Greenberg, Gerwig teams up with Baumbach to co-write Francoise Ha, a quintessential snapshot of the highs and lows of a goalless twenties. Baumbach directed the film, and Gerwig stars as the 27-year-old titular ballerina struggling to understand adult life in New York City.

Shot in glorious black and white, Francoise Ha is a character study told through a series of vignettes. It follows the rhythms of a film of rupture through the prism of a friendship. The opening montage presents the idyllic life of Frances, spending every waking moment with her best friend, Sophie. Frances breaks up with her boyfriend in one of the first scenes, but the real heartache is when Sophie moves to live with her own boyfriend.


Throughout the film, Frances bounces from skill to skill – cutting the movie like chapters – picking up a few replacement friends with varying degrees of success. Even when she gets along really well with someone, it’s not the same as her perfect dynamic with Sophie.

The two friends are finally reunited in the poignant final scene. At a party in the middle of the film, Frances describes a moment she wishes to see happen when she falls in love: making eye contact across a crowded room and sharing an unspoken connection. The heartwarming ending of the film visualizes this precise moment between Frances and Sophie. This film is a celebration of the love between two non-romantic soul mates.



Lady Bird's foreground

With her first film as a solo director, Lady Bird, Gerwig set out to create a female version of coming-of-age dramas like Childhood, The graduation, and The 400 blows. It stars Saoirse Ronan as an individualistic teenager who calls herself the titular nickname as she navigates her final year of high school and tries to figure out her identity. Lady Bird has received universal critical acclaim and won five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

The film covers every aspect of Lady Bird’s teenage experience – her first boyfriends, her attempts to enter college, her sibling rivalry with her older brother, her lifelong best friend abandoning them to date them. popular children, etc. – but the heart of the film is his relationship with his mother, Marion, dramatically played by Laurie Metcalf.


More than earning their Oscar nominations, Metcalf and Ronan share compelling on-screen chemistry as a mother and teenage daughter in the midst of the difficult Rebel phase. The arc of their relationship is painfully relatable, capturing both their similarities and their differences (summed up neatly in the foreground of the two mirrored face to face in bed). Lady Bird constantly rebels against her mother and most of their conversations escalate into screaming matches, but whenever she gets hurt in a relationship or friendship, her mother is the first person she wants to talk to.

In most teenage films, Distraught To 10 things I hate about you to John Hughes’ many classics, the female lead has to pick the “right guy”. In Lady Bird, there is no such thing as a “good” guy. She has two big love interests – Danny, played by Lucas Hedges, and Kyle, played by Timothée Chalamet – and they are both wrong for her. The former is struggling with her sexuality and the latter is pretentious and annoying. Lady Bird don’t peddle Hollywood’s problematic message that girls need a boyfriend who will make them happy; it’s a story of self-discovery.



Saoirse Ronan as Jo March in Little Women

After the success of Lady Bird, Gerwig was offered the chance to write and direct a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott Little woman. This was Gerwig’s first adaptation of existing source material, but the simple, straightforward tone of Alcott’s writing blended well with his own unique naturalistic style. Little woman brought Gerwig together with a number of actors from Lady Bird, including Ronan, Chalamet and Tracy Letts.

Jo March has a choice of two suitors, but she is more interested in finishing her novel than in finding a husband. Little woman is a meta-exploration of love stories, as Jo’s editor insists on a romantic and radical ending to her story in which the protagonist reunites with the man of her dreams. Society wants Jo to find a man, but the story is really about the love between a writer and the written word. The real emotional catharsis at the end of the film is a young, aspiring author who looks at the print of her first novel and manages to hold a physical copy in her hands.


Always, Little woman recognizes the positive role of romantic love. Jo has a poignant monologue in which she explains, “I’m so sick of people saying love is all a woman is made for. I’m so sick of it! But I am so lonely. Company is heartwarming, but it’s not the only thing people need.


Greta Gerwig on the set of Lady Bird

Gerwig’s next project – a live-action Barbie movie – seems like a drastic change of pace. Margot Robbie is hired to star and co-produce, while Ryan Gosling will play Ken. Filming for the film is slated to begin in early 2022 for a 2023 release. Based on the subversive storytelling and strong, identifiable female characters found in her previous directorial endeavors, Gerwig surely has something delightfully unexpected (and surprisingly empowering) in mind for a live Barbie movie.


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