Frances Ha (2012) Directed by Noah Baumbach. With Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Esper amd Grace Gummer.
Principally, a collaborative effort between director Noah Baumbach, and star, Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha is a low budget character study of a scatterbrained New York woman using her social situations to keep her world afloat, amid the fast-changing pace of city life.
Co-written by director and star, the film has a very loose and experimental feel to it, which creates a very natural flow to the scenes. As Frances, Greta Gerwig creates a very easy spirited person, but at the same time, someone who seems to struggle to be taken seriously by almost everyone she meets. Throughout the film, we’re firmly on her side, to the extent that when others judge her hyperactive behaviours, we feel inclined to judge them negatively for doing so.
Shot entirely in monochrome and set mostly in New York, it evokes memories of Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’, in a sense, but is also at pains to avoid showcasing any landmarks or famous sites, leaving the city that never sleeps, to gently nap in the background while lensing the character of Frances, front and centre.
Funny and sweet natured, Frances Ha doesn’t really shoot for any kind of resolution or big narrative arc. It is simply a small glimpse into the life of a girl struggling to keep her head above water. We can all identify with that. 3.5/5