Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Written By: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 26 min
Have you ever decided to just watch a movie you’ve heard nothing about? In a theater, or at your local rental place (if you can still find one?) For me, it was – well I don’t know what you call it. I’m logged into Netflix, skipping through title after title. Thumbnail surfing? Genre cruising? Browsing? Wow, that’s dull. We need a title for this new world version of being non-committal with our entertainment choices. Anyway. So I was in that rare mood to try something I knew absolutely nothing about, and I ended up watching Frances Ha.
To be honest, from the poster art, I actually thought it was going to be a foreign movie. French probably. Maybe because you can’t spell Frances without ‘France’. I know, idiotic. Perhaps the woman on the poster looked crazy French to me. Starring Greta Gerwig? Definitely European. I was very wrong. It’s an American movie starring American characters living in the very American city of New York. I’m also happy to report that my spontaneous virtual dart landed on a genuinely funny and charming film.
This film is pretty much a character study, since there’s little to no actual plot to follow. Frances lives in New York, and is a modern dancer. She never can seem to organize her life enough to find her own place to live, or push beyond the understudy position at her dance company. She’s unfocused, and her life is a series of earnest attempts to move forward, while also lacking the confidence to take chances. Despite the many setbacks however, she nearly always manages to smile and look forward.
Frances Ha’s strengths come from its very witty script, and the incredibly charming performance by Greta Gerwig. There’s little to no plot to this, so your enjoyment of this film is solely tied to your like, or dislike of the titular character.
This is a small independent film, shot in black and white. There are no big names here, and there isn’t really much of a plot to worry about. The director/writer Noah Baumbach also co-wrote the superb Fantastic Mr Fox, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. So if you’re a fan of those films I think you’ll find Frances Ha is worth your time.
It’s shot in black and white, but I think New York is designed specifically for that! The film looks great, so a HD showing would be ideal, but a regular streaming show will work too.
Best moment for me:
This single moment of dialog from Frances I think perfectly encapsulates what this character is all about, and what she strives for.
“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”