Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Maggie’s Plan’ (2016)

Sony Pictures Classics

Sony Pictures Classics

Life plans sound so solid and promising, but are often unreliable conduits to bliss. Maggie (Greta Gerwig), an affable, soul-searching millennial with an MBA, stable career and what she thinks is a viable agenda, is about to find that out.

Written and directed by Rebecca Miller, and based on a story by Karen Rinaldi, Maggie’s Plan is, at its core, about Venusian and Lunar feminine archetypes, and women’s waxing and waning rhythms in loving and emoting. In other words, it’s about female malleability, which allows for revivifying themselves as they birth and raise offspring, or as is the case here, child-husbands. The titular Maggie, often seeking counsel from her best friends (Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph), is set on having a baby and raising it on her own.

As her sperm donor, she chooses someone from college, a shy and soft-spoken fellow named Guy (Travis Fimmel) who abandoned his love for pure mathematics – too painful to just get scraps of truth from such beauty, he says – to become a Brooklyn pickle entrepreneur. Guy’s heartbreaking take on intellectual passion is very similar to the mindset of Maggie, who defines her academic job as “a bridge between art and commerce.” Sounds like a promising match: two attractive people trying to navigate the fine line between transcendence and practicality. But Maggie, who seemingly botches her DIY Guy-fertilization process, has her eyes set on adjunct professor John (Ethan Hawke).

John is intellectually eclipsed by and in a contentious marriage with Georgette (Julianne Moore), a brilliant, no-nonsense, Danish-born scholar, accent and all. She’s also a tenured professor at a prominent university – in other words, a good earner – with a magnificent collection of enveloping, hand-crafted woolen garments and accessories, and who could capably run a small nation.

With increasing  joy in each other’s company, John professes his love to Maggie and marries her, abandoning  his marriage to Georgette, with whom he has two children. Suddenly it’s three years later and he and Maggie are parenting their own three-year-old daughter. But as he works to finish his novel, she feels increasingly like his intern. Just about here is where Maggie starts revising her life plan, which includes Georgette whom she likes and greatly admires.

Miller characterizes Maggie as a purist with good intentions and a commitment to act in everyone’s best interests, especially after hearing Georgette’s castigation, “You’re tired of your little affair. Have the decency to leave him.” Sure, just as long as you keep Maggie and Georgette in our line of vision.

Archetype: Relationship Strategist.

Astrology Archetype:☽ ♀ (Moon, Venus)

 

 

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