The new film, Lola Versus explores the grisly New York dating scene. And at its center is Lola, played by “mumblecore” actress Greta Gerwig, who’s forced to re-enter that dating world after being dumped by her fiance Luke (Joel Kinnaman). Directed by Daryl Wein and co-written by his parter Zoe Lister-Jones, the film’s got all the characteristics of a mainstream romantic comedy, but feels a lot quirkier than No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits.
- Directors: Daryl Wein
- Writers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister Jones
- Starring: Greta Gerwig, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Joel Kinnaman
Lola, a New Yorker on the verge of 30, finds herself abruptly dumped weeks before her anticipated wedding. Single for the first time in eight years, Lola attempts to rebuild her life with the help of her friends. She soon realizes that navigating the unfriendly waters of dating and relationships makes letting go and moving on easier said than done.
- Greta Gerwig: Lola is a pitiful and self-centered character who blames all of her misfortunes on those around her. But Gerwig plays her with charisma and fierceness, making it hard to hate her. Instead you feel sorry for her and in the end, root for her self-discovery.
- Hunky Ex-Boyfriend Stereotype: While most romantic comedies tend to paint a bad picture of the hunky ex-boyfriend who dumped the girl (or vice-versa), Lola Versus goes the extra mile and adds some depth to Luke. At first, you hate him because he’s the reason Lola is so miserable. But when he shows up again, and again, and then again, you begin to see the reasons behind his actions.
- Better Than Mediocre: This film is by no means a game changer for romantic comedies, but it’s not mediocre. It takes a few risks by allowing its hero to be a slutty, drunken mess. [Spoilers] The finale, though predictable, isn’t a typical happy ending. Most of these movies end with a couple. This one finishes solo. Lola needs to take care of herself first and that’s what she decides to do. It’s a conclusion that could be seen a mile away, but when we arrive at it, it still feels rewarding.
- Standard Rom-Com Hallmarks: Still, there are a few rom-com hallmarks that the film does fall victim to. There’s the quirky best friend Alice, played by Zoe Lister-Jones. She’s funny and inappropriate, as she’s meant to be. She’s also just another disposable character. Then there’s the whole “friends with benefits” storyline with Lola’s noble buddy Henry, played by The Future‘s Hamish Linklater. He’s the guy that was always there, but Lola didn’t see until after she got dumped. It’s tired and their story ends badly. And of course, there’s our “clumsy” star Lola. At one point, she’s walking down the street and just falls flat on the ground. Romantic comedies just aren’t complete until the lady falls on her butt.
- Not For Everyone: Lola Versus is similar to HBO’s Girls. The film follows a privileged white girl dealing with romantic relationships in NYC. It doesn’t make reference to any other cultures or ethnicities. It just stays in its own little bubble. Consequently, the film suffers because the situations aren’t all-around relatable.
Lola Versus is better than your average romantic comedy, largely thanks to Gerwig. Despite the script’s predictable trajectory, Gerwig keeps you engaged with her charming performance. If you’re a 20-something whose had to deal with the pangs of urban city dating — then this one is for you.
Lola Versus opens in theaters Friday, June 8.
Will you watch Lola Versus?