Review: LOLA VERSUS Puts the Fun in Dysfunctional Love

Lola Versus
Fox Searchlight

Remember when you were 10, and you thought by 22 you’d be married, with a big house (that has a white picket fence) and two perfect children? Maybe a dog and a cat to complete the family? But when you hit 30, you may start to realize that all those dreams won’t necessarily come true. Welcome to the suck, sucker.

"Lola Versus" is the story of a girl who didn’t get everything she wanted, at the time she wanted it — and how she deals with that. Greta Gerwig is Lola, who’s fixing to marry the man of her dreams, Luke (played by future RoboCop and current Detective Stephen Holder on AMC’s “The Killing,” Joel Kinnaman). Things are going well for Lola. She’s about to finish school, the wedding planning is coming along nicely … and then kerplunk, Luke calls off the engagement just three weeks before the wedding.

Also Check Out: 5 Questions With “Lola Versus” Star and Writer Zoe Lister-Jones

Like anyone who’s just had their childhood dreams shattered, Lola reluctantly embarks on a journey of self-discovery through a series of unfortunate events. It’s Lola versus the world.

Lola Versus
Fox Searchlight

Instead of filling the movie with romantic cliches that almost never work in the real world (Carrie Bradshaw would never take Mr. Big back after what he put her through, amirite?), we get an honest and hilariously awkward story about being an adult while at the same time learning to be an adult. It’s coming-of-age story about a woman who’s too old to be coming of age. And in a strange and charming way, it all works.

"Lola Versus" stars the new queen of independent cinema, Greta Gerwig. The ’90s had Parker Posey; we have Gerwig, who’s appeared in "LOL," "Nights and Weekends" and "Greenberg" (for which she earned an Indie Spirit Award nomination). In her films, we get to watch her characters go through all the relationship woes and life oopsies that all of us can relate to in one way or another and think, "Thank God I am not alone."

Lola has a lot of love to give, but she just doesn’t know where to put it. Gerwig knows how to play this damsel in distress, making awkward look endearing. But when it’s time for Lola to pull out those identifiable moments of loneliness, Gerwig bangs you over the head like a bag of hammers. (As a bonus, Bill Pullman plays Lola’s free-living father and, as always, rules.)

Also Check Out: Interview with “Lola Versus” Star Greta Gerwig

"Lola Versus" marks the second writing collaboration between real-life couple Zoe Lister-Jones (who almost steals the movie as Lola’s potty-mouthed best friend, Alice) and Daryl Wein (who directed the film). There’s no doubt this film is a thank you card to the hell that these two once put each other through. Hopeless romantics will recognize many of the things we’ve experienced during an unwanted breakup: the power-eating, the sex with strangers and friends, and yes, the not showering or underwear-changing for days.

These are real people in real situations using real dialogue. “Lola Versus” is what happens when you shake life up a little bit and let it fall out of your hands.