Mistress America is a 2015 American comedy film directed by Noah Baumbach. It was written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, and stars Gerwig and Lola Kirke. The film was released on August 14, 2015, by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
College freshman Tracy Fishko (Lola Kirke) is having trouble adjusting to college life at Barnard. She eventually meets and befriends a fellow student, Tony, and even develops a crush on him, but when he begins dating another girl called Nicolette, she feels alone again. On her mother’s advice, she contacts her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig) who also lives in New York.
Tracy is immediately entranced by Brooke and her lifestyle. After spending a whirlwind night with her, she pens a short story and submits it to her college’s prestigious literary magazine. Tracy continues to spend time with Brooke who shows her her plans for a small and eclectic restaurant called “Mom’s” after her dead mother which is being financed by her partner. Upon returning home one night however, Brooke finds herself locked out of her apartment and discovers that her boyfriend has withdrawn financial support. With massive bills for the restaurant coming due, Brooke visits a psychic with Tracy. Tracy interprets the psychic’s words as meaning that Brooke should ask for the money from her former friend Mimi-Claire, whom she fell out with after Mimi-Claire stole her idea for a business and married her former fiancé.
Tracy has Tony drive her and Brooke to Mimi-Claire’s home in Connecticut with Nicolette joining them to make sure that Tony and Tracy are not having an affair. At Mimi-Claire’s home Brooke and the others crash Mimi-Claire’s book party and Brooke pitches her restaurant to Mimi-Claire, hoping she will invest. Mimi-Claire, who confides to Tracy that she did steal Brooke’s T-shirt idea to become rich, insists that she will have to talk to her husband Dylan. When Dylan comes home, rather than dismiss Brooke, he asks her to pitch her restaurant. Brooke stumbles, but Tracy, still enthused by the project, helps her to pitch it. Dylan tells Brooke he will give her the money but insists that rather than invest in it, he will give it to her to cover the debt she will have from dissolving the business. Seeing that Mimi-Claire is upset by this, she ultimately refuses the money. Meanwhile Nicolette, who believes that Tracy and Tony are sleeping together, confronts Tracy about her story. The entire party reads it and Brooke becomes offended by the brutal way in which Tracy characterized her. She informs her that they are no longer about to become sisters as their parents no longer want to marry and tells her she will sue. Upset, Tracy, sitting outside the house, takes a hit on the bong that Tony had earlier fashioned from an apple with her initial emblazoned on it, smoking weed that he had presumably stolen from Dylan’s freezer.
Tracy’s story is accepted by the university’s prestigious literary society and for awhile she joins them. Still finding herself unable to fit in, she decides to start her own literary club, inviting both Tony and Nicolette to submit.
Finding herself alone on Thanksgiving, Tracy goes to Brooke’s old apartment and finds her packing her things, about to move to Los Angeles. She learns that Brooke was able to cover her debts as Mimi-Claire gave her what would have been her share of money from the T-shirt business. Brooke also tells her that she has passed the SAT’s and been accepted into college and is considering going. Tracy invites Brooke to have Thanksgiving dinner with her. The two eat out at a restaurant, as the film concludes with Tracy, as narrator, musing: “Being a beacon of hope for lesser people is a lonely business.”
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