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Rebecca Miller
Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader
Writing Credits:
Rebecca Miller

A young woman set on having a child catapults herself into a love triangle with an academic & his eccentric wife (Moore).

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$63,308 on 5 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
Russian Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $30.99
Release Date: 8/23/2016

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rebecca Miller
• Sundance Q&A
• “Controlling Fate” Featurette
• Outtakes
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Maggie's Plan [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 11, 2016)

For a comedy in the Woody Allen vein, we go to 2016’s Maggie’s Plan. New Yorker Maggie Hardin (Greta Gerwig) finds herself unlucky in love – at least in terms of long-term relationships. Because she feels she’ll never enjoy a lasting partnership, she decides to have a baby on her own.

A complication enters the picture when Maggie meets anthropologist/novelist John Harding (Ethan Hawke) and falls in love with him. Additional problems ensue because John remains unhappily married to Georgette (Julianne Moore). Maggie pursues John but eventually encounters second thoughts and needs to deal with these.

There’s your titular “plan”, implied in the “deal with these” part of the synopsis. The movie initially sets up as a semi-traditional romantic comedy, but it gives us a twist when Maggie regrets her dalliance with John and decides to push him back toward Georgette.

As I mentioned earlier, Plan offers a Woody Allen vibe much of the time, but it also bears a debt to another genre: the screwball comedy. At its heart, Plan aspires to the tradition of films such as His Girl Friday.

Whether one views it as an heir to Woody Allen or to Howard Hawks, Plan flops. The movie starts with a passable concept but creates such an annoying experience that it never prospers.

On the positive side, Plan comes with a strong cast. In addition to Gerwig, Hawke and Moore, we find talents like Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader and Wallace Shawn. I find it hard to fault the actors for the movie’s failings.

Unfortunately, they get stuck with a consistently unlikable set of characters. While the movie wants us to care about its inhabitants, we don’t, mainly because it presents them as such self-absorbed whiners.

That’s the fine line Allen movies walk, as they often give us privileged personalities with such condescending arrogance that they can easily turn off the viewer – and sometimes do. However, Allen at his best offers at least a sliver of mockery to humanize these folks.

None of that occurs with Plan, so we’re stuck with a slew of quirky, self-obsessed hipster sorts. We find ourselves so disinterested with and annoyed by the characters that it becomes impossible to buy into their journeys.

The often weak dialogue doesn’t help. Too many characters speak in little more than pseudo-intellectual soundbites. The film lacks a sense of realism and feels “scripted” in its construction.

It doesn’t help that Plan sputters as it goes. Due to the efforts of the cast, the film keeps us mildly intrigued for its first act, but it soon wanders off course and becomes messy and unfocused. We wait far too long before we finally get to the film’s “high-profile” concept, and it’s not worth it.

Perhaps a superior writer/director could make something of Maggie’s Plan, but this version of the tale goes nowhere. Sadly lacking in depth or intelligence, the film becomes tedious and annoying.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Maggie’s Plan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a good but not great transfer.

Sharpness looked mostly positive. A little softness cropped up during occasional shots, but the majority of the film was fairly accurate and distinctive. I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, Plan went with a mix of orange, teal and amber. It didn’t overwhelm us with these choices, but they dominated. Within the stylistic choices, the hues seemed fine. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear. Although the image didn’t dazzle, it seemed satisfactory.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the story. This meant the soundscape accentuated general atmosphere and not much else. Outside of street sequences, I couldn’t detect much that added particular dimensionality. The elements brought a little breadth but not much.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness. Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. This ended up as a serviceable mix for a character tale.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we find an audio commentary from writer/director Rebecca Miller. She offers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, locations and production design, music, editing and camerawork, influences, and connected areas.

Miller creates a pretty good commentary. She covers a nice array of topics and does so with enthusiasm. Despite the occasional lull, this turns into a strong discussion of the film.

A featurette called Controlling Fate runs 15 minutes, 52 seconds and offers info from Miller, producers Rachel Horovitz and Damon Cardasis, and actors Julianne Moore, Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, and Maya Rudolph. We learn about story/characters, cast and performances, costumes, cinematography and visual design, and inspirations. Some of the info repeats from Miller’s commentary, but “Fate” still offers a fairly efficient overview.

Next we get a Sundance Q&A. This 11-minute, 29-second reel includes Miller, Gerwig, Cardasis and actor Travis Fimmel. They discuss Miller’s approach to the project, story/characters, cast and performances, challenges during the shoot, and other topics. The Q&A seems a bit scattershot but it offers a few good thoughts.

Finally, the disc provides Outtakes. The compilation fills seven minutes, 21 seconds and shows unused footage of toddler actor Ida Rohatyn as well as improvised dialogue between Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader. Both provide entertainment.

The disc opens with ads for I Saw the Light, The Bronze, The Meddler, Dark Horse and Miles Ahead. We also get the trailer for Plan.

Despite a solid cast, Maggie’s Plan proves too feeble for its own good. The movie saddles the viewer with an unsteady narrative and annoying characters. The Blu-ray provides generally positive picture and audio as well as a few useful supplements. I wanted to like the film but found it largely unappealing.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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