A common complaint against many members of the current generation of young adults – I won’t use the common moniker the press has assigned them – is that they’re kind of obsessed with themselves. That this comment often comes from Baby Boomers who literally made everything in society about them is more than a little notable. Young people by their nature are focused on themselves and their own issues, putting their own needs above those of the people around them and wanting to go their own way.
In the new movie Maggie’s Way Greta Gerwig plays Maggie. She’s a young woman who’s planning to have a baby on her own but a wrinkle is introduced when she meets John (Ethan Hawke), a professor who she becomes attracted to. She plans to – and does – woo him away from his bitter wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and lives with him for a few years. But eventually she decides that the passion for John has cooled and begins thinking he and Georgette were actually meant for each other and hatches a plan to get them back together.
The movie’s one poster is pretty simple and lays out the basic value proposition, which is that it’s a romantic comedy starring Gerwig and Hawke. The two of them are shown sitting on a park bench engaged in some sort of charming conversation. And that’s about it in terms of visuals. Some encouraging critic quotes are at the top above the cast list and title treatment. Some festival credentials are at the bottom as well. Again, this is very simple and there’s not much going on visually, but it sells the movie as a talkative relationship-driven story involving some charming actors, which is largely the point.
The movie’s first trailer quickly introduces us to Maggie and sets the stage, for lack of a better phrase, a somewhat wacky romantic comedy. Maggie meets John and develops a crush. But John is married to Georgette, though the two of them aren’t happy. Maggie gets John but the good times don’t last long as John’s narcissism quickly makes things difficult. So Maggie hatches a plan (natch) to get John and Georgette back together.
Yes, the trailer spoils just about the entire story, save for some shading around the edges. But with a cast this charming and with what looks like clever dialogue and the always-refreshing Gerwig in the title role all the cliches that may be inherent in the story don’t really matter that much. This looks like a funny good time with some selfish but amusing characters.
Online and Social
When you open the official website for the movie you get a pop up video playing the trailer, which i worth rewatching. There’s a big button at the top that prompts you to watch it again and another to “Buy the Screenplay” on Amazon if you’d like to study up.
Scroll down the site and the first section of content you’ll come across is a “Synopsis,” which has a good writeup of the story and characters. A “Cast” list is next followed by “Filmmakers,” each offering details on the people involved in the film.
There’s a nice “Gallery” of stills next with 20 or so images from the movie. Finally there are some “Reviews” with pull quotes from critics but unfortunately no links to the full pieces. Similar pull quotes are sprinkled through the site as interstitials between sections.
There’s not much going on with the movie’s Facebook page, just the usual mix of promotional images, the trailer and a few links to media stories. The movie didn’t have its own Twitter profile so it had to settle for support from Sony Classics’ main account.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing that I’m aware of. This is a small movie that’s not getting a huge release so that’s not surprising on either count.
Media and Publicity
Buzz for the movie really started when it screened to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the conversation focused mostly on Gerwig’s lead performance. It then screened at Sundance (a bit unusual), where it got more positive reviews and where Gerwig kept the conversation about the movie going.
A substantial interview with director Rebecca Miller talked about her career as a whole as well as to the path she took to make this movie, what the genesis of the story was and how she secured the involvement of the actors and why they signed on as well.
What surprises me – though this is by no means a bad thing – is how much the campaign focuses on Gerwig and her Maggie character. Yes, she plays the title character but still, in a movie with Hawke and Moore I would have expected them to be bigger parts of the marketing since they are arguably bigger marquee names. It’s clear that the entire story is driven by and revolves around her and her actions.
Instead Gerwig rightly is front and center here, bringing her unique charms and line reading ability to sell the movie as an offbeat, original story. If you’ve liked her in movies like Francis Ha, Mistress America and others you’ll likely dig what’s going on here and be attracted to this movie. Likewise if you’re just a fan of unique stories told from an original point of view. The movie looks an indie rom-com twist on the kind of story that usually involves people conspiring to keep a haul of stolen money secret, with Gerwig’s performance as the emotional anchor.