There’s much to admire in indie darling Greta Gerwig’s first solo venture behind the camera, particularly for those willing to overlook colorless screen direction, dialog that thrives on pop culture references, and a pair of running time-padding skits — an anti-abortion pep rally gone wrong and a gym coach assigned to oversee the high school drama club — that play like outtakes from a Christopher Guest satire. Copious critical accolades already abound, but don’t let the comparisons to Terms of Endearment keep you from the picture. (No Kleenex needed.) The raves that bear attention are the ones championing the daughter and mother combatants played by her generation’s gift to acting, Saoirse Ronan, and the criminally underused Laurie Metcalf. Their precision-engineered salvos of overlapping dialog are the film's highlights and a sure test of the limits of Dolby Atmos. And kudos the the dizzyingly-denominated Beanie Feldstein for her performance as Ronan’s brilliant flake of a BFF. (2017) — Scott Marks
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