Is 'Mistress America' A True Story? The Greta Gerwig Film Blurs Fiction & Reality
Noah Baumbach and Great Gerwig's latest movie Mistress America is a witty, humorous tale of a college freshman who comes to New York and develops a major girl crush on her charismatic stepsister-to-be. Any woman who sees the movie will be able to attest that it's a super-realistic depiction of female friendship, and it takes place in a city that has birthed many "based-on-true-events" films. So is Mistress America based on a true story?
Actually, the story and script were created from scratch as a collaborative effort between Baumbach and Gerwig. That being said, Gerwig has said that some aspects of her character Brooke are derived from her own life. She told Variety, "I’ve had a few people in my life who had elements of Brooke. But she’s really an amalgamation of people I’ve known and Noah’s known, and fictional stuff too.”
This is Baumbach and Gerwig's second collaboration, the first having been Frances Ha in 2012. This film was similar to Mistress America in that it starred Gerwig, was directed by Baumbach, had themes about youth and female friendship, and took place in New York. It also had an air of truth even though it was fictional, perhaps because NYC is a place where it seems that just about anything could realistically happen. Here are some other famous films that take place in the Big Apple — can you guess which ones are based on real events and which ones are totally fictional?
Quote: "The only people who can afford to be artists in New York are rich."
Quote: "Don't you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here."
When Harry Met Sally
Quote: "I thought you didn't believe men and women could be friends."
Breakfast At Tiffany's
Quote: "I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I'm not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It's like Tiffany's."
Sex And The City
Quote: "Year after year, twenty-something women come to New York City in search of the two L's: labels and love."
The Devil Wears Prada
Quote: "Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us."
West Side Story
Quote: "I'm an American girl now; I don't wait."
Quote: "I just want to be perfect."
Quote: "That one's Rachel, the New York bitch. We all play our little parts. Only Rachel really is a bitch, and I really am a tease."
Wolf Of Wall Street
Quote: "On a daily basis I consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month."
Any luck at guessing which movies were based on true stories and which ones are fictional New York tales? Here are the answers:
Frances Ha: Fictional — written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig.
Annie Hall: Fictional — written by Woody Allen.
When Harry Met Sally: Fictional — written by Nora Ephron.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Fictional — written by George Axelrod and loosely based on the Truman Capote novella of the same name.
Sex and the City: Fictional, BUT: based on the HBO show, which was based on Candace Bushnell's book, which was based on her experiences as a sex column writer. So, there are some truths to the story's origins!
The Devil Wears Prada: Fictional, BUT: based on the book of the same name by Lauren Weisberger, which drew from her experiences as an entry-level employee. Also, antagonist Miranda Priestly is largely believed to be based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
West Side Story: Fictional — an adaptation of the musical by Leonard Bernstein.
Black Swan: Fictional — conceived by Darren Aronofsky, and written by Andres Heinz, Mark Heyman and John McLaughlin.
Coyote Ugly: Inspired by true events — based on the experiences of author Elizabeth Gilbert when she was a bartender at the actual Coyote Ugly Saloon in the East Village neighborhood of NYC.
Wolf of Wall Street: True Story — based on the outrageous real-life story of Wall Street crook Jordan Belfort.
The truth is: in the city that never sleeps, sometimes the line between reality and fantasy can be blurred. That's what seems to happen in Mistress America's realer-than-real portrayal of two very different young women in the big city. It may be a mostly fictional script, but the story is familiar in a way that viewers will be able to relate to. After all, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
Images: Giphy (10)