67 user 214 critic

Mistress America (2015)

2:34 | Trailer
A lonely college freshman's life is turned upside-down by her impetuous, adventurous stepsister-to-be.


Noah Baumbach
2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lola Kirke ... Tracy
Shana Dowdeswell ... Ruth
Shelby Rebecca Wong Shelby Rebecca Wong ... Laura
Alfred Macadam Alfred Macadam ... Professor #1
Amy Warren Amy Warren ... Counselor
Sharon Washington ... Professor #2
Morgan Lynch ... Student
Andrea McKinnon ... Hallway Girl (as Andrea Chen)
Shoba Narayan ... Hallway Girl (as Shoba Narayanan)
Kathryn Erbe ... Tracy's Mom
Jasmine Cephas Jones ... Nicolette
Matthew Shear ... Tony
Colin Stokes Colin Stokes ... Mobius Guy
Juliet Brett ... Tiny Girl
Gretchen Young Gretchen Young ... Work Study Woman


Tracy, a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude by her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke, an adventurous gal about town who entangles her in alluringly mad schemes. Mistress America is a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


from strangers to sisters.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Lola Kirke's character, Tracy, attends Barnard College; Greta Gerwig attended Barnard in real-life. The hallway of the dorm in which Tracy stays is the same hallway in which Greta Gerwig stayed when she attended Barnard. See more »


There is a scene that Tracy is walking on campus with lighted trees on the background. It is actually on the College Walk of Columbia University. And those trees will not be decorated with lights until mid December for the Christmas. But the story happens before Thanksgiving. See more »


Brooke: You can't *really* know what it is to *want* things until you're *at least* 30. And then with each passing year, it gets bigger... because the *want* is more, and the *possibility* is less. Like how each passing year of your life seems faster because it's a smaller portion of your total life. Like that. But in reverse. Everything becomes pure want.
See more »


References Le Amiche (1955) See more »


The Dancer Disappears
Written and performed by Dean Wareham
Courtesy of Double Feature Records
See more »

User Reviews

Noah Baumbach Tries Screwball Comedy with Mixed Results
13 February 2016 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

A refreshing, if not entirely successful, change of pace for Noah Baumbach. Leaving behind the upper-crust east coast neurotics that pepper his other movies and make them sometimes intolerable, he focuses instead on the relationship between a young woman (Lola Kirke) and her soon-to-be sister-in-law (Greta Gerwig), a freewheeling spirit who the young girl takes on as a life mentor.

"Mistress of America" feels very honest in its exploration of the thorniness that comes with admiration. Kirke looks to Gerwig as a kind of role model, but she also begins to realize that those we emulate are not infallible, and what we sometimes learn from them is how not to be. This lesson comes to Kirke at the expense of her relationship with Gerwig, and they have the predictable falling out, but the movie ends in a place that feels right. Just because we acknowledge that role models aren't perfect doesn't mean they can't still be role models.

Baumbach shoots for a zany screwball tone in "Mistress America" that doesn't really fit his talents. The strain is most noticeable in an extended scene set in the vast home of one of Gerwig's friends. I wanted to think it was funny, but mostly it just felt forced. But I'll take Baumbach's attempts at comedy, even if uneven, over the unbearable whiners in, say, "Margot at the Wedding," any day.

Grade: B+

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

4 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mistress America See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,206, 16 August 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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