Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Frances Ha

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on June 10, 2013 at 6:35 PM

FRANCES HA   ***1/2

Noah Baumbach


IDEA:  Devastated when her roommate and best friend Sophie finds a boyfriend and moves out, Frances bounces haphazardly between locations, apartments, and acquaintances, never feeling quite satisfied but always managing to stay hopeful.

BLURB:  It’s rare enough to see modern American movies devote their time to rich women characters; rarer still is a positive, honest depiction of female friendship. And although the aimlessness of arrested-in-development twenty-somethings has been a favorite subject among young indie filmmakers, its onscreen portrayals can often feel wan. Enter Frances Ha, the ebullient exception. Not only does Baumbach’s film put its delightful, though difficult, heroine front and center, it enlivens her desultoriness with wit and grace. As played by Greta Gerwig, Frances is the just-right embodiment of traits neither exaggerated nor implausible: she may be socially gawky and at times childish, but these are qualities the script nurtures rather than dismisses. While fodder for many a laugh, her awkwardness in moving towards adult autonomy fosters a deeply resonating audience recognition first and foremost. Baumbach’s crisp direction and the brilliant economy of Jennifer Lame’s editing, meanwhile, make it all feel like an effortless snapshot of an ongoing life. Like Frances, the film carves out its own particular niche in the world, and we’re glad to get a peek.

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