63 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 »


When Brooke's former high school classmate Anna Wheeler approaches Brooke and Tracy in the bar, Anna mentions that she and her husband have recently seen the play Other Desert Cities, which began previews at the Booth Theatre on October 12, 2011 and closed on June 17, 2012. If the film occurs during Tracy's first semester of college and culminates with Thanksgiving dinner with Brooke at Veselka, then the film would occur in fall 2011. However, when the would-be stepsisters walk through Times Square, a marquee for the revival of Annie is visible. The most recent Broadway revival ran at the Palace Theatre from October 3, 2012 (first preview) to January 5, 2014. See more »


Tracy: It was clear that the thing that Meadow wanted most in the world, the thing that she wanted to define her, to give her a place to put her time and talents, her everything, the restaurant, it was clear that it will never happen. The most surprising thing was that Meadow was actually surprised by it. She could see the world with painful accuracy, but she couldn't see herself or her fate. And because I was in love with her I decided I couldn't see it either.
See more »


References Le Amiche (1955) See more »


You Could Have Been A Lady
Written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson
Performed by Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of Parlophone Records Ltd
See more »

User Reviews

Mediocre and forgettable coming of age drama
20 August 2015 | by smspencer69See all my reviews

Tracy is a freshman student with no friends and a superiority complex (do we have a correlation here?), who's disillusioned that her lack of popularity isn't suddenly transformed when she moves to New York and starts college. It obviously didn't occur to her that wherever she goes she'll still be herself. It is also a rude awakening for her to find that once at college her assumed genius does not set her above those around her now she's in a more competitive peer group - in short she's not only dull but decidedly average as well.

Feeling particularly low she latches on to her "older" step sister to be Lola, a Bohemian human twitter feed who sprouts a constant diatribe about anything and everything, has no discernible talent, who seems to think her "popularity" will somehow equate to success, and yet somehow has made it to 30 without having to face the reality that it won't.

Of course Tracy recognises that Lola is a long overdue car crash waiting to happen but cynically hops on for the ride as a source of material for her writing. So both physically and metaphorically they set off on a journey that allows Lola to realise her short-comings forces for Tracy's to hold up a mirror to her own life, though neither seem to do much with this new found self-knowledge.

Because college students in films are invariable played by actresses and actors in their mid-20's the actual age gap between the "sisters" is somewhat less than it's supposed to be so the pair look more like contemporaries than big and little sister which gives an air of unbelievably to their relationship. Not a lot happens in the film, there's no great character arcs, both the characters and dialogue are unbelievable - it comes across as a pseudo-sophisticated Woody Allen stage play that's inexplicably been put on the big screen. It's not terrible, there are some laughs, but like Tracy it comes across as both mediocre and ultimately forgettable. At least at less than 90 minutes it's short enough not to overstay it's welcome. Perhaps it will say more to Americans or more specifically New Yorkers, given the importance of the location to the narrative.

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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:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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