Greta Gerwig’s second feature-length directorial effort is a winning combination of a cleverly written coming-of-age saga and a quietly sophisticated exploration of a strained mother-daughter relationship. The acting is remarkably layered, with co-leads Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf both approaching their respective characters with sympathy even when their behavior verges on toxic. It’s rare to see a movie so casually confident in its artistic vision that it allows its characters to be occasionally unsympathetic, and it makes the finished movie feel all the more sincere for its honest approach to the human experience, warts and all. Highly recommended for fans of “Whip It” and “Easy A,” and while it doesn’t share the same ebullient energy as those two movies, it shares their strong feminine presence.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)