SIFF-stravaganza started for me last night, with a massively full screening of Lola Versus. I guess the night before, the festival had run into the problem that more passholders had shown up than anticipated, leaving the poor single ticket holders out of luck. I have a feeling the same thing happened at Lola last night, but as I made it into the theatre, I can’t be certain.
(And to the two girls seated next to me: NOT COOL. Claiming you have to go to the bathroom and then cutting in line so you make it into the theatre makes me want to find an usher and have you thrown out. Dumb bitches.)
Lola Versus is brought to you by the team of Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein (the geniuses behind Breaking Upwards). Lola’s got a great life, living in New York City in a fantastic loft owned by her boyfriend, Luke, studying for her PhD, hanging out with her friends…then her boyfriend proposes, and her life gets even better.
Except when he dumps her. Oops.
Despite not being a big fan of romantic comedies, I can’t seem to stop watching them. Fortunately, I’ve seen a couple in the last few years that were genuinely funny (500 Days of Summer; Crazy,Stupid, Love) and this one definitely qualifies as funny. Like haha funny, not the cutesy funny you so often get with romantic comedies.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) turns into a completely believable portrait of an ex: obsessed with her former fiance, unable to move on, making mistake after mistake, compulsive eating (okay, her compulsive eating is all gluten free and macrobiotic) and getting wicked drunk and pissing off all of her friends. She knows Luke is bad for her, but she can’t stop herself from going back to him, trying to sort out the confused mess in his brain. He wants her. He needs space. But he loves her! But he needs space (in the form of another woman)!
Gerwig is often hilarious and completely real, and shows off the flair for comedic timing she demonstrated in No Strings Attached. Zoe Lister-Jones, as Lo’s friend Alice, is a sex-crazed single woman in a city full of prospects. Those prospects just don’t seem to be interested in her. Lister-Jones is at times hysterically funny and touchingly nuanced, especially toward the end of the film. The big surprise for me? Bill Pullman, as Lo’s father. I don’t think I’ve seen him as relaxed and having as much fun since Spaceballs. The man’s always so damn serious. It’s about time he loosened up!
What I loved the most about this film was the way it dealt with the timeline of a break up. Having a relationship end is often painful, messy, and confusing, especially if it’s gone on for an extended length of time and the other person has become so ingrained in your life you aren’t sure how to function properly without them in it. Lola plays out the way you’d think so many other break ups do, complete with a realistic ending that, while not sappy, left me feeling pretty damn good.
Lola Versus opens June 8th, nationwide June 15th.