It’s a year of milestones for filmmaker Noah Baumbach. 2015 marks 20 years since his debut film, Kicking and Screaming, and a decade since his breakout indie as a writer and director, the autobiographical The Squid and The Whale. 2015 is also the first time in Baumbach’s career he’s released two features in one calendar year; his last effort, the outstanding While We’re Young, opened in theaters in April. Four months later, Baumbach returns with Mistress America, a bubbly screwball comedy about a lonely college freshman named Tracy (Lola Kirke) whose depressing social life gets a serious shot in the arm after she meets her vivacious new stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig).
The second trailer for Mistress America is just as wonderful as the first. The Frances Ha duo of star / writer Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach return with what appears to be an equally charming and relatable follow-up about living in New York in your 20s. It looks as though their collaboration has paid off again, and we’re all happily reaping the reward.
From the very beginning of his career, Noah Baumbach has drawn comparisons to Woody Allen. Like Allen, Baumbach makes witty, urbane comedies of manners, mostly set in and around New York City. Many feature nebbishy Jewish actors (Jesse Eisenberg, Ben Stiller). Now we can add another Allen comparison to the mix: Baumbach’s become so prolific he’s releasing two movies in one calendar year. He’s an obsession with the New York Knicks, a thick pair of glasses, and a complete fear of technology away from becoming indistinguishable from the genuine article.
To date, the most successful movie that Noah Baumbach has been involved with grossed $530 million worldwide. This is an astounding and somewhat surprising figure until it’s revealed that the movie in question is ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – a movie that Baumbach co-wrote with the writer of the other two 'Madagascar’ movies, Eric Darnell. As a director, Baumbach’s most successful movie to date is 2005’s ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ which grossed a little over $7 million domestically. This will all change when ‘While We’re Young’ – which premiered in Toronto and was the New York Film Festival’s Surprise Screening on Sunday evening – reaches theaters next year. Noah Baumbach has made a commercially viable film.
I really want to see While We’re Young and I’m terrified to see it at the same time. I love writer/director Noah Baumbach (he’s the guy who made The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, and Frances Ha), and I can really relate to the premise of an older, childless married couple trying to recapture their youth. But I think I might relate to that premise a little too strongly.
Noah Baumbach’s last movie, ‘Frances Ha’, was one of our favorite movies of 2013. If you don’t trust our judgment, it was also one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movies of 2013. For as good as it was though, ‘Frances Ha’ never really broke out in a big way. That should all change with Baumbach’s next movie, ‘While We’re Young’, which looks like a very, very funny Ben Stiller movie.