'Lola Versus' is not that much fun — and neither is Lola
"Lola Versus," directed by Daryl Wein and starring Greta Gerwig and Joel Kinnaman (of "The Killing" TV show), is an uneven film and not that much fun, either, particularly since the main character is depressed and unappealing. It does have some good lines, though, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Lola Versus,' with Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister-Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman, Debra Winger. Directed by Daryl Wein, from a screenplay by Lister-Jones and Wein. 86 minutes. Rated R for language, sexuality and drug use. Meridian, Sundance.
As the central character in the uneven non-rom-com "Lola Versus," Greta Gerwig has a floaty, indecisive quality; her voice wanders up and down like it's lost its way, and she tends to lapse into sad-eyed quietness. She's playing Lola, a 29-year-old New Yorker who's been dumped by her fiancé, Luke (the charmingly vague Joel Kinnaman, of TV's "The Killing"), just a few weeks before their wedding. "Lola Versus" chronicles a year in Lola's post-breakup life, as she tentatively starts dating again and learns to appreciate the value of solitude.
The self-pitying Lola, alas, is only sporadically interesting; it's really not that much fun to watch someone being depressed — particularly when we have little real sense of whether Luke would have been right for Lola anyway, or of what she's like when she's not bummed out. Aside from the main character, the movie's full of intriguing little touches: Luke's profession, which involves "paintings of celebrity sex tapes"; Zoe Lister-Jones' funny, eye-rolling spin on the standard-issue sardonic-best-pal role ("Honestly," she tells Lola, "your brain is like a bad DJ"); Debra Winger's brief, vibrant appearance as Lola's no-boundaries mother. "They shrivel," she tells Lola, of her daughter's rapidly aging eggs; it's the best two-word line reading in the movie.
But too often "Lola Versus" feels obvious, as if the filmmakers are trying too hard — Lola, for example, is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on "our communal, almost deathly fear of silence," just when she's adjusting to living alone. By the time Lola's bravely marching down a sidewalk by herself (stumbling, like a baby deer, in her high heels — but doing it on her own, get it?), we're ready to say goodbye to her.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com