Lola Versus (2012) Review

Lola Versus (2012)
Director: Daryl Wein
Screenwriters: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister-Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman

Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, who co-wrote the mildly successful and incredibly well put together Breaking Upwards (2009), teamed up again in 2012 for their second collaboration Lola Versus; a film that was just as successful in presenting the harsh reality of a major break-up and the love that underpins it.

Lola (Greta Gerwig) is a woman approaching her 30s that has a sudden break-up with long-term partner, and fiancé, Luke (Joel Kinnaman). As is to be expected from the independent movie Mumblecore movement to which Gerwig is so strongly associated with, we’re not introduced to the characters’ last names because they don’t matter. In movies like this, where story and character development/interaction are key, the performances are really brought to the core. As always, Greta Gerwig doesn’t fail to impress.

The reason why Greta Gerwig is the perfect casting choice for this film is because there are few better in the industry who can play developing female leads as naturalistically as her – Lola Versus is yet more proof of that. With some good performers backing her up, and the as-was-then soon to be Robocop playing her ex, there are more than a few good reasons to be checking this film out.

Lola Versus is darkly comedic in places, a trait of the work of Wein and Lister-Jones it seems. The performances help to shape that, particularly the performance from Lister-Jones herself as Gerwig’s almost polar opposite best friend. Their relationship is not only comedic, but it also offers each of us a tool through which they can become engaging. Lister Jones’ character Alice is reassuring when she needs to be, and firm at other times; she is representative of our voice. This interesting method of engagement makes their relationship central to the plot and the way it develops without using it as a mechanism to construct change in Lola’s character, as that is something Lola herself must do. Perhaps she doesn’t succeed quite like she would’ve liked, but that’s real life, right?

Lola Versus is an entertaining and well constructed independent drama. If you’ve seen the work of Lister-Jones, Wein and Gerwig before, then this one is not to be missed.

Score: 17/24

Recommended for you: Greta Gerwig: The Essential Collection

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