Frances Ha - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
GRETA Gerwig delivers an enchanting central performance as Frances Ha in Noah Baumbach’s enjoyable indie comedy-drama.
Co-written by Gerwig and Baumbach and designed as both a love letter to New York and an examination of supporting a bohemian lifestyle in that city, this is a film that succeeds on many levels.
The story is broken up into the various locations that Frances (Gerwig) ends up living, as she struggles to become a successful dancer, stay best friends with former roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and find elusive romance.
Admittedly, Frances is the type of character who takes a little getting used to. She’s knowingly eccentric, sometimes neurotic, and her own worst enemy a lot of the time. But Gerwig also invests her with a great deal of charm and vulnerability that eventually makes her a character well worth rooting for.
Baumbach, for his part, avoids the pretentiousness that has bedevilled most of his work since The Squid & The Whale and clearly has fun shooting in black and white (in homage to Woody Allen and, especially, Manhattan) in both New York and, briefly, Paris.
Together with Gerwig, he also displays a clear understanding of what it is to be an artist in a big city while reflecting affectionately on the trials and tribulations (both financial and romantic) of young, cool 20-something’s trying to find their way.
As such, Frances’ journey is almost always relatable on some level and Baumbach ensures that there is a reward of sorts for some of the difficulties (and heartbreaks) she faces.
In addition, the cast is uniformly great. Aside from Gerwig (who is on career-best form), there’s also eye-catching support from the likes of Sumner, Adam Driver (of Girls fame) and Michael Zegen.
Baumbach’s use of location is also well judged, capturing the vitality of New York and the beauty of Paris without always opting to show the obvious.
Hence, Frances Ha is an easy film to warm to on many levels and one that also lives fondly in the memory afterwards too.
Running time: 86mins
UK Release Date: July 26, 2013