Lola Versus

Directed By: Daryl Wein

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Zoe Lister Jones, Bill Pullman, Hamish Linklater, Debra Winger, Joel Kinnaman, and Cheyenne Jackson

Greta Gerwig has been a very busy woman this year.  She's been all over indie cinema in 2012.  We saw her in Damsels in Distress a couple of months ago.  We've got her in Lola Versus this week.  We'll even be seeing her in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love later this month.  In her current film Lola Versus, Gerwig stars as a young woman struggling to find herself after her fiancé dumps her weeks before the wedding.

Lola (Gerwig) is living the good life.  The 29-year-old is set to get married in three weeks to her fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman).  Her world is absolutely perfect until Luke decides to dump her so he can have some space.  This unexpected turn of events crushes Lola.  She goes into an emotional tailspin.  Right now, Lola is damaged goods, and she knows it.  Her parents Lenny and Robin (Bill Pullman & Debra Winger) try to intervene to get Lola back on her feet, while her best friend Alice (Zoe Lister Jones) tries to get her back in the dating game.  Though reluctant, Lola soon finds herself in relationships with several guys including her close friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) and a random guy named Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach).  She doesn't know how to navigate them because she doesn't know how to love the people in her life.  For that matter, she doesn't know how to love herself, which is a much bigger problem.

I have to respect the fact that Lola Versus is not some sugary romantic comedy.  It's a movie that addresses the real struggles of a young woman trying to find love in life and trying to find her identity.  As the titular character, Greta Gerwig does a great job of balancing the comedic elements of Lola with the meatier, more dramatic aspects of her character.  In one moment, you'll find her quoting lines from The Godfather to break up with a guy.  In the next, you'll find her crying alone on the streets of New York.  Lola Versus is a very different kind of comedy in the sense that it offers a more sophisticated and complicated character than what we would typically find in a film like this. 

There's plenty of comedy in Lola Versus.  The standouts are Greta Gerwig, Zoe Lister Jones, and Bill Pullman.  Gerwig is at her best when Lola hits rock bottom.  She goes crazy in these moments.  When she's stealing liquor, getting wasted, and dancing in strip clubs, you can't help but laugh.  Zoe Lister Jones's Alice is quite funny as well.  She's a desperate woman looking for love in all the wrong places.  She's also quite open to doing recreational drugs.  Her plight is our humor.  Finally, Bill Pullman might just be the most hilarious guy in the movie as Lola’s dad Lenny.  Whether abruptly crushing his daughter's hopes of getting back with Luke or offering to feed her cinnamon buns intravenously, he delivers big laughs whenever he's on camera.

As much as I enjoyed Lola Versus, Greta Gerwig's acting style lends itself to bland moments.  When she's not doing something insanely funny, she has no personality on screen.  Given that she's in nearly every scene of the film, this is a bit of a problem.  Lola Versus gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of glasses of Chardonnay with this one.