With the recent casting news of the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters reboot comes a wave of optimism for women in film. Even inside the microcosm that is Sundance Film Festival, 2015 boasts a variety of films produced, directed, starring, and written by females. While their are plenty of lady-centric dramas — Lila & Eve, Unexpected, I Smile Back — dynamic duo Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig offer Sundance's most charming female buddy comedy in the form of Mistress America.
For those unfamiliar with the pair's work, Gerwig and Baumbach have collaborated on a number of films surrounding female friendships, most recently (and notably) Frances Ha! But Mistress, a more talky, quick-paced and classical comedy than their previous works, won over audiences and critics when it premiered Saturday at the festival.
This story surrounds a lonely college freshman, 18-year-old Tracy (played by Lola Kirke), who is having a hard time fitting in at her New York City college. In an effort to socialize, she reaches out to her older, soon-to-be stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig). What begins as a single evening of frolicking around New York city in a haze of sensational activities, continues into a full-blown sisterhood between the two females. I caught up with Gerwig on the red carpet premiere of the film, and when her publicist urges me that they were running out of time and have to find their seats, I focus on finding the perfect, single question.
"What are your thoughts on the current state of Hollywood in America? Are women being represented fairly and are there enough well-rounded roles for females today?"
Her publicist offers me a hearty sigh, and Gerwig smiles. "I went to a women's college," she begins, "so we'd be here all night! But I'm really encouraged by all the great actresses and writers and showrunners and directors and screenwriters who are out there. I think they're doing a great job and I hope they keep going!"
While there are certainly flaws in the Hollywood system — for women, as well as countless minority groups — Gerwig's optimism is hopeful. And the message in Mistress America is equally so: Female relationships, whether bound by literal sisterhood or dear friendship, are equally, if not more so, as important as romantic ones.
Mistress America has already been picked up by FOX Searchlight, with a release date TBD.