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“Mistress America” – The Screwball Millennial Comedy

Noah Baumbach’s uncanny portrait of my generation is a modern screwball comedy masterpiece. Most movies about millennials obsess over portraying young adults often consumed with the terror of becoming “real adults.” The characters in all of these movies are too many times white & upper middle-class and while that can irk me to no end, there’s a potential universality in the story and emotions some filmmakers and tv showrunners often strive for but almost never do (see, Lena Dunham’s Girls or Gia Coppola & James Franco’s Palo Alto). The idea of someone clinging to the protective embrace of college and the college-life mentality like a life preserver in murky open waters shouldn’t be so specific to one view. Somehow filmmaker Noah Baumbach & actress/writer Greta Gerwig found a way to transcend that despite surface-level trappings that peg it as yet another well-off white liberal arts kids movie. Much like their last collaboration, Frances Ha, they hit that elusive universality in the tale of new college freshmen forcing themselves into worrying about what they should become that they hardly have time to be themselves. And all of this juxtaposed with a character who embodies the best hopes and worst fears weirdly associated with my generation.

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