© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Movie Review

'Mistress America' Holds More Than It First Seems


It may be best to just take Mistress America as a happy little character comedy about a group of old acquaintances who learn some things about themselves and each other and how unexpected life can be. But I keep seeing more than that in it-- a thematic consistency that may suggest a more serious intention.

It starts off, even before the titles, with the question of whether all stories are in some way stories of betrayal. And our heroine writes a story that reveals, or betrays, some things that infuriate some of her acquaintances. Her friend encounters an acquaintance from way back who has been permanently injured by something the friend can't even remember.

And there is an odd literary club that has nothing to do with the plot, but that consists almost entirely of pregnant women. We're getting away from the effects of stories, but pregnant women are beautiful examples of things with elements in their interiors that may emerge with unexpected results, and the study of literature is largely a matter of finding significances that are not obvious on the exterior and whose significance may not be understood.

Many of the relationships in the movie result in revelations neither deliberate nor expected. Both of our principal protagonists on separate occasions say we just have to accept such experiences and get on with our lives, but not everybody seems to be able to do so.

But maybe my reviewer's mind is overworking. If you want to see Mistress America as just a mildly satiric character comedy, it'll work just fine like that.