Complete A-Z list

Maggie's Plan


Stars: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel, Ida Rohatyn, Wallace Shawn, Mina Sundwall, Jackson Frazer, Monte Green

Director: Rebecca Miller

30-something single New York New School teacher Greta Gerwig’s plan is a straightforward one – when she decides it is time to have a child, rather than embark on a marriage or have an affair she prefers to impregnate herself using a semen donor.

But, despite an optimistic father-to-be telling her “I made you some extra in case you spill some”, she ends up deciding to become a mother the more conventional way when she falls for her new colleague, professor and aspirant novelist Ethan Hawke who leaves his high class academic wife Julianne Moore and starts a family with Gerwig.

Two years later, Gerwig finds herself having to support Hawke (who has switched from writing in longhand to using a computer) so sets out to reunite Hawke and Moore with engagingly amusing and (most of the time) emotionally credible results, thanks to Rebecca’s Miller’s sharp screenplay, equally to-the-emotional-point direction, apt casting and, above all, to Miller’s consistently unshowy but pertinent direction.

Gerwig is excellent, as usual, and absolutely in control of the fascinating character she creates, Hawke, too, does all that’s required of him with engagingly less of his frequent “look at me!” acting, Moore is cold, clever and genuinely scary as the dangerous “other woman” while Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph offer amusing support as Gerwig’s best friends.

Combining as it does, humour, genuine emotion and romance, smartly spiced with comic cynicism, Miller’s film is fun from start to finish, unexpectedly sharp in all the right places and beautifully filmed by Sam Levy who, in particular, makes the most of aptly chosen New York locations.

Maggie’s Plan emerges as entertaining and sharp as any of the best Big Apple set comedy-dramas Woody Allen used to make before he started to grind out another film every year, regardless of whether they were actually worth making (or seeing, for that matter).

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 10 Jul 2016