A winning, slightly screwball investigation of the fraught relationship between writer and subject, or maybe artist and muse, or maybe both. The second collaboration between Greta Gerwig (star and co-writer) and Noah Baumbach (director and co-writer) — the first was the cheerfully modern Frances Ha — tells the story of two women at opposite ends of the NYC gauntlet. Young Tracy (Lola Kirke) has just started college in the big city; somewhat-less-young Brooke (Gerwig) is rapidly approaching her make-or-break moment on the urban stage. They connect because Tracy’s mom is planning to marry Brooke’s dad, bond because it’s a tough town and there’s comfort in (sort of) family, and fall out because Tracy decides to write a story inspired by Brooke’s struggle. It’s brief, witty, talky, mannered, occasionally loopy, and ultimately poignant. It’s also uneven and a trifle slapdash, which is either a drawback or part of its charm, depending. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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