Title: Lola Versus
Director: Daryl Wein
Cast: Greta Gerwig!!, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister-Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Debra Winger and Jay Pharoah
It’s hard to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, when it comes to romantic comedies. It’s one of the very few genres that absolutely relies on its conventions, in saying that, “Lola Versus” does not re-invent the romantic comedy but it does take it in a different direction, which is radiant, refreshing and resplendent. Often times, movies are happy enough to give audiences what they want, but it’s not often a film has the foresight the play around with what we like. Love it or hate it, “Lola Versus” marches to a beat of its own drummer and since it’s an indie comedy, it has license to do something different without being overly obnoxious.
“Lola Versus” follows the titular character of Lola (Greta Gerwig) as the opening title sequence goes, she falls in love, moves in with her boyfriend, gets engaged and then her boyfriend breaks off the engagement as they plan their dream wedding. Once the film begins, Lola is a shell of her former self. Mopey and depressed, Lola struggles to gain a piece of herself while trying to get over her past lover.
What is so special about “Lola Versus” is Greta Gerwig. She is a bright, bubbly, breathtaking beauty. Gerwig elevates the material and lousy script to something more interesting, a look at late 20s romance in New York City. The relationships in this movie are so matter of fact, short and often times confused. How can anyone commit to someone when they are surrounded by the energy and excitement of New York City. Taking this viewpoint, “Lola Versus” starts off as a conventional romantic comedy but evolves into a soul-searching journey of self-destruction, awkward sex and co-dependence.
Often time during the film, an audience may find it hard to watch Lola put herself in harmful situations but keep in mind, an audience is probably more mentally stable, Lola is not. She continuously searches for something tangible but keeps coming up short. The journey is complete with an ending that is a-typical of romantic comedy conventions and completely quiet in tone. The realization Lola comes to at the end is enough for her and for now. The journey is what informs us to Lola’s plight but the ending is why “Lola Versus” has conviction.