Director: Daryl Wein (Breaking Upwards)
Screenplay: Wein, Zoe Lister Jones (Breaking Upwards)
Cast: Greta Gerwig (Damsels in Distress), Jones (State of Play)
Runtime: 87 min.
"I learned everything I know about being a woman from 90210." Lola (Greta Gerwig)
To watch Greta Gerwig play the eponymous Lola dealing with the cancellation of her wedding 3 weeks before the event by her cold-footed boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinneman), is to watch a young, already accomplished actress deftly play a doctoral student navigating the emotional potholes of breaking up.
Gerwig is worth the watching while the rest of the film meanders in and out of almost-unconnected episodes with some wit and some clichés. She is so convincingly lost among the ruins of her life that she is believable even when the setups are not. Indeed, it's Gerwig who propels the film, not the uneven scrip of director Daryl Wein and his collaborator, Zoe Lister-Jones.
The film is punctuated by make-up, casual, and silly sex as she finds her way out of depression. To help her is the usual rom-com girlfriend, Alice (Lister-Jones), whose wisecracking ("I gotta go wash my Vagina") helps add comic relief to Lola's melancholic life.
Amid Lola's experimentation with her ex's best friend, Henry (Hamish Linklater), and a pickup, Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), at a fish store are random thoughts about finding the right love or going back to the old love. It's a rather tedious conflict that could be rehashed from some soap and not reflective of HBO's gritty "Girls," if I hear right about the TV sitcom.
It's not that Lola Versus is unreal; on the contrary it is an authentic take on the vagaries of breaking up. However, with as few witty lines and imaginative encounters, it doesn't elevate the argument or provide insight into the anguish and remedies that usually accompany a study of this universal experience.
I would much rather have explored the interesting lives of Lola's loose parents (Lenny and Robin, played by Bill Pullman and Debra Winger) or the challenges of her dissertation on silence in novels. Maybe that's what Lola Versus needs—silence.