by Zac Sanford
On the cusp of turning thirty, all seems on the right track for Lola (Greta Gerwig), the titular character in Fox Searchlight's latest offering, Lola Versus.
Lola's been living with her boyfriend Luke (Joel Kinnaman) for long enough that he's finally ready to settle down. Isn't that typically what people in their thirties do if they haven't already? Besides her wonderful boyfriend and eclectic group of friends, Lola is working on her dissertation covering the topic of the "Silent Moments in French Cinema." What could actually go wrong?
Joel Kinnaman and Greta Gerwig
As Lola and her parents (played by Bill Pullman and Debra Winger in thankless and under-utilized roles) prepare for the upcoming nuptials, Luke comes down with a case of cold feet and calls off the wedding. Also, since Lola and Luke shared an apartment together, she must now find solace in a new locale as she continues a downward spiral of sexual encounters, alcohol and self-pity. But something about Gerwig's performance makes the sad state of affairs endearing, keeping the viewer locked in and along for the ride.
It also helps that Gerwig has wonderful actors to play against. Alice (Zoe Lister Jones, who co-wrote the script) is the best friend who is always just a phone call away. She's the ear for Lola to dump upon and always fires back with a witty response that isn't always helpful to her friend-in-need. Henry (Hamish Linklater), a close friend of Lola and an even closer friend to Luke, becomes another support system. There's always been somewhat of a spark between them, but based on the previous relationship, they've held back. One night when Lola can't be alone, she calls up Henry, who is more than happy to oblige sharing a bed with her for the night. The two must learn to balance their growing feelings for one another, considering Luke is still in both of their lives.
If all this sounds a little familiar, it might be the fact that the film doesn't break much new ground in the RomCom genre. The plot is razor thin and lately a typical episode of Girls on HBO will have more depth than the entire run time of Lola Versus. But the chemistry of Greta Gerwig and her close friends make this a more believable ensemble than those littered through the scripts penned by Lena Dunham. If only I could find the best of both programs and combine them into one movie or TV show, I'd be one happy viewer.