I just want to clarify a few things that got lost in my Greenberg post.
Most importantly, I don't think that the Florence character is any more attractive as a person than the more obviously damaged Greenberg.
I really didn't enjoy the film and am hostile to its assumptions and conclusions, but Baumbach certainly achieves his goals here regardless of whether or not I like his film. I'm not sure if my distaste for the film is as evident as it should be in my previous post. Then again, maybe I'm overstating things at this point. I can't tell.
Also, my assessment of Gerwig was more of a gut feeling than any reasoned analysis. It was good to discover since then that A. O. Scott has already communicated what I was trying to say about her performance in a much more informed and reasonable fashion than I was capable of.
"Ms. Gerwig, most likely without intending to be anything of the kind, may well be the definitive screen actress of her generation, a judgment I offer with all sincerity and a measure of ambivalence. She seems to be embarked on a project, however piecemeal and modestly scaled, of redefining just what it is we talk about when we talk about acting."
Also, I found a good Mick LaSalle article on director-actress pairs.
"No matter what nonsense Godard is spewing, if Karina is in the frame, he is expressing at least one true thing. She is his anchor. Likewise, it doesn't matter what Karina is doing onscreen. If Godard is watching her, she is always fascinating. Through her, he becomes the chronicler of a cultural moment. Through him, she becomes - and you really need to see her onscreen to know this is not just critical foaming-at-the-mouth - an embodiment of some hard-to-define eternal truth."
On why this dynamic only works with male directors and female stars:
"No, this phenomenon is a guy thing. But why? I have my theory, really just a guess, the sort of speculation that leads to a whole other discussion: I think male directors photograph actresses in a certain way, because men see women, at least to some degree, as a mystery. And I think female directors don't photograph actors in the same way, because women don't see men as a mystery at all - possibly because men aren't. Possibly because women tend to see men coming from a mile away."