The 27 year old NYC wannabe dancer named Frances (Greta Gerwig) is best summed up when a loose acquaintance compares her to her roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner).
“You seem older but less grown up.”
In Frances Ha, the title character, Frances, is flailing her way out of youth, and as the kids say, is being one hot mess about it. Boys, money, and career choices are not her strong suit, always being prone to the irresponsible and just basically not being able to see/plan more than two steps ahead. When Frances’ BFF/roommate Sophie gets the chance to move out of Brooklyn (of course) and into Tribeca, that doesn’t fit into Frances’ budget. Sophie also has a serious bo’ and as besties do- the two start to drift apart, which Frances is not ready for.
Sounds like this could be the set up for a harsh affair, especially with Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg) as director, but Baumbach along with his script that he co-wrote with Gerwig make this the most upbeat and pleasant film of his career. The crisp black and white definitely adds to the film’s appeal and will no doubt draw comparisons to Woody Allen’s Manhattan. There is a silver lining of hope stapled throughout Frances’ awkwardness even when you want to smack (not literally of course) some sense into her.
Greta Gerwig has become that indie chick to me now- tall, not overly attractive, but nervously pretty, Gerwig has never been better than here in Frances Ha. A scene where the lovable Frances tries to pay for a nice dinner out by using her tax rebate, but has to feverishly find an ATM to pay for said dinner, and then is tormented over the $3 surcharge is showcased perfectly by Gerwig. Frances is a comedy that’s good for a Ha.
While Frances Ha is a pleasant uplifting film, it’s still not to the level of the greats that director Noah Baumbach obviously adores. Maybe a little down the road Baumbach can take the ambassadorship of quirky New York films away from Woody Allen, but not quite yet. There are French New Wave splashes here and there with a particular admiration for Francois Truffaut and that’s not really a complaint on my part, they’re just big french shoes for Baumbach to try to fill.
A feel good film for the lovable loser that lets Greta Gerwig shine.
Take a Drink: when Frances is called “undatable”.
Take a Drink: whenever Frances dances.
Do a Shot: whenever Frances moves into a new apartment.