Girl Meets World

Article excerpt

Byline: Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig on insecurity, marriage, and 'Lola Versus'.

I started lying about my age when I was 7. It was first grade, and I had turned 7 in August. Having an August birthday meant that I would either be the oldest kid in the class or the youngest. My mom explained that she and my dad had been the youngest and they hated it, so of course I was just going to love the opposite. I think a lot of parenting goes something like that.

Lola Versus is not about an overly self-conscious 7-year-old. But it is about getting older, about passing the landmark age of 30 and feeling that you are not where you should be. By 30, Lola wants to be a wife cooking dinner with farmer's-market vegetables and giving her less-married friends advice. And then of course her fiance breaks up with her, destroying that fantasy future. This sets off her year of mistakes, misbehavior, and misadventures. All "mis" and no "Mrs."

I don't consciously share the same dream of being married by 30 that Lola does, but on some deep level, I totally get it. As a child, when my mom took me with her to the grocery store, I would always study the bride magazines at the checkout. For years, one of my most prized possessions was a 1992 People about the best weddings of both that year and of all time. I used to take out a flashlight and read it at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. My favorite dress was a tie between Toni Braxton's and Delta Burke's.

The panic--that you should be in second grade and not first grade, that you should be married and not single--causes people (me, Lola) to act in ways that aren't their best selves. I lied, Lola acts out. And, very luckily, we (real, fictional) are both saved by our friends.

We shot the movie last summer, and I was both thrilled and terrified the whole time. …