Director: Daryl Wein
Starring: Greta Gerwig; Joel Kinnaman; Zoe Lister Jones; Hamish Linklater; Bill Pullman.
Plot: Dumped by her boyfriend just three weeks before their wedding, Lola enlists her close friends for a series of adventures she hopes will help her come to terms with approaching 30 as a single woman.
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 the friendships and personal evolution that surround it as its predecessor, at least in my opinion.
As was given away in the plot description above (and the trailer), Lola (Gerwig) is a woman approaching her 30’s that has a sudden break-up with long-term partner, and fiance, Luke (Kinnaman). As is to be expected from the independent movie ‘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, Gerwig (in particular) doesn’t fail to impress.
The reason why Greta Gerwig is the perfect casting choice for this picture is because there are few better in the industry who can play developing female leads as naturalistic and successfully as her – this 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’s more than a few good reasons to be checking this film out.
Lola Versus is darkly comedic in points, 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, in support of Gerwig as the almost polar opposite best friend. Their relationship is not only comedic, but it also offers the audience a tool through which they can become engaged. This is because Lister Jones’ character Alice is reassuring when she needs to be, and firm at other times; she is the audiences voice and the representation of what the audience should want for Lola throughout the picture. 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 not as successfully as she would’ve liked. But hey, that’s real life, right? And this offers the filmmakers the opportunity to really develop a multi-layered central character, which is sure what happens.
This film, in short, is an entertaining and yet another well put together independent drama. Coming from a fan of the work of Wein, Lister Jones and Gerwig, it was to be expected. So, if you’ve seen their other work and don’t like it, you’ll probably not enjoy this as it’s very similar to their other work. But, if you’ve not checked them out or you have and you’ve enjoyed it, then this one’s not to be missed!