Frances Ha: Quirky, Uplifting Comedy
Adam DriverGreta Gerwig...
Taking a step back from his usual dark and sardonic approach, director and screenwriter, Noah Baumbach – see The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding – surprises fans with a more light-hearted approach to the subject of growing up, or in the case of Frances Ha, refusing to do so.
Frances is a 27 year old aspiring dancer at an well-known New York dance company. Despite her physical clumsiness and general awkwardness, she remains hopeful of one day earning a more permanent spot with the company, whiles she shares her life and a home with best-pal Sophie (Sumner).
Frances’ idyllic-view of the world comes crashing down, though, when Sophie announces that she is will be relocating to a more ‘grown-up’ apartment to focus on her career, leaving Frances behind. Forced to find new living arrangements, Frances is determined to get over losing Sophie and goes on to find a better life for herself.
However, her new can-do attitude runs into more than a few challenges; after being laid off work and having moved from one address to the next, the road to finding meaning to her existence becomes all too difficult for Frances, who is slowly starting to realise that she too will have to learn to grow up, at some point.
Much of Frances Ha’s appeal is thanks to Greta Gerwig; her carefree aura and liveliness is infectious, portraying Frances as someone everyone would love. Although she might not be someone who faces her problems head on, her ability to pick herself up from the floor makes her incredibly easy to root for. Frances Ha also benefits from the brilliant supporting cast, which includes Sumner – the real-life daughter of veteran British rocker, Sting – who serves as Frances’ voice of reason to great effect.
Aside from the wonderful cast, the choice of shooting the entire film in black and white serves Baumbach’s story extremely well. New York’s concrete landscape is often visually central in many films though its presence in Frances Ha is never overpowering, nor is it ever used as a net for any holes in the film.
Heavily influenced by the French New Wave movement, Frances Ha, just like its leading lady, has no plot or direction; it’s a series of events that take place in the life of one seemingly lost soul.