Sure we find out the meaning of the title by the end of the film (Frances Ha) but what leads up to that final scene is a surprisingly charmer of a film.
As Frances, Greta Gerwig portrays a disoriented Vassar grad attempting to lead a stable life in the city. At first she inhabits a bubble of ignorance alongside her pal Sophie (Mickey Sumner), an equally spirited young woman with whom Frances runs amuck in the city. When complications arise to challenge that relationship, Frances enters into an alternately sad and hilarious cycle of denial that gives the movie a rich dimension of pathos. (Source: Rooftop Films).
Shot beautifully in black and white and co-written by the director (Noah Baumbach) and his star, the dialogue is witty, fresh and flows naturally. The situations Frances finds herself in are truly hilarious and I found myself guffawing on several occasions. I think that what resonated so much is that the film does not take themselves too seriously but rather is turning a self-deprecating lens on itself.
Frances Ha marks my first Mr. Baumbach experience. Prior to this screening, what I did know about his body of work, is that it often takes a rather melancholic tone. So you can imagine my surprise when I found this film so upbeat and hopeful at the close.
This however is NOT my first Greta Gerwig film … she is an engaging screen presence who seems ideally suited for these independently-spirited light comedies centering on twenty / thirty – something NYC dwellers.
I have already referenced the lovely black and white cinematography, but what is equally lovely is WHAT is being shot. I do not know if there is ever a way to make NYC and surrounding areas look so pretty.
Check out the trailer below:
* I caught this film as a sneak preview a couple of weeks ago at the Rooftop Film Festival (I will be doing a feature piece later on in the week).