Frances Ha

30 Jul

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Frances Ha invites us into the life of the titular protagonist, Frances (Greta Gerwig) as she struggles to make ends meet in New York. When her friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) announces that she is moving out of the flat they share together, we begin to follow Frances as she moves from one temporary place of residence to another around the Big Apple. She makes a few friends along the way, makes many more mistakes and embarrasses herself plenty of times.

At the heart of Frances Ha, I found an unconventional love story a million times more real than anything I would hope for in a standard romance. That is the love story between Frances and Sophie. Frances is constantly telling everybody how her and Sophie are, “…basically the same person, but with different hair”. What she doesn’t realise though is that they’ve drifted apart somewhat, and it is when she finally makes that discovery that the film really becomes interesting.

Taking in a handful of interesting characters, made loveable and endearing by fine supporting performances from Sumner, Adam Driver and Michael Zegen in particular, Frances Ha does an excellent job of delving into the relationships that make people tick, without ever feeling too dramatised. The movie has a wonderful flow to it, being very much character driven over plot driven, which is something I always approve of. I also enjoyed the fact that I never felt I could predict how the story would end, I was happy just to be taken on the ride and see where I finished up.

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Shot in glorious monochrome and packed with gentle, subtle comedy, Frances Ha is a sweet, could-be-real tale, powered by an excellent Greta Gerwig leading performance. It only slips occasionally, every now and then veering into the path of things I consider to be indie-film clichés. To dwell on them though would be to do the movie a disservice; this is a 2013 cinema highlight.

 8/10

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8 Responses to “Frances Ha”

  1. Tom July 31, 2013 at 07:29 #

    Fantastic review! Glad to see another fan. This was a real treat for me as well. If you want to check out what I had to say, by all means click the following:

    http://digitalshortbread.com/2013/06/10/frances-ha/

    • Richard Burns August 1, 2013 at 20:55 #

      Thanks Tom. It is a fine film I liked your review too, clearly we agree on a lot of points

  2. At The Back July 31, 2013 at 22:33 #

    Yes. You are quite right.

  3. Courtney August 1, 2013 at 21:40 #

    This film is so endearing and easy to relate to! Good review! It did have some cliche lulls,but you’re right to not dwell on them. And what a great soundtrack too!

    • Richard Burns August 1, 2013 at 21:46 #

      Thanks for the comment Courtney. It does feel relatable; I liked the way it didn’t need huge plot devices to move along, it was just a young woman falling through life as people tend to. Real life is rarely portrayed this well I don’t think. It sits alongside Before Midnight as a ‘That could be a real life’ highlight of the year for me.

  4. Marcy August 6, 2013 at 23:33 #

    I have been reading some interesting reviews for this film. I’ve been a fan of Noah Baumbach’s previous works–The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding (to a lesser extent, admittedly)–and I am glad to hear that he seems to have been looking at the brighter side of humanity for once! And I’ve seen Greta Gerwig in the atrocious Lola Versus on a plane once–and she actually left that misguided piece of feminism unscatched. Excited to hear all the buzz she has been receiving for her role in Frances Ha. Will be looking forward to seeing it.

    • I Liked That Film August 10, 2013 at 11:13 #

      Hi Marcy – I have to be honest, this is the first work I’ve seen from either Baumbach or Gerwig but the film is certainly strong enough to make want to dig into both of their back catalogues. “The brighter side of humanity” is an excellent way of putting it – it’s such a lovely film, and Frances is such a wonderfully flawed individual. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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