Director Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha tells the story of 27-year-old Frances Handley, a privileged drifter trying to reconcile her identity and make it as a dancer in New York while negotiating her way around adulthood in order to achieve her dreams.
As viewers, we follow Frances (Greta Gerwig, No Strings Attached, Greenberg) on her many journeys – be it physical or emotional – as she moves from one relationship to another in search of her small to medium-sized break in the Big Apple. Baumbach’s tale is not that of the stereotypical rags-to-riches, rather a well-crafted narrative presented on a much younger, smaller and far more real level.
Co-written by Gerwig and Baumbach (Gerwig’s real life partner), Frances Ha perpetuates a heightened sense of art imitating life. The colloquial script evokes a cinematic rawness that favours the comedic value in finding yourself – or even just finding the path to finding yourself – over conventional narratives of love and sex so often associated with the coming-of-age genre.
The film centres on the trivialities of contemporary life like hilarious interactions between friends who are pissed off at each other, awkward dinner parties, family Christmases and all those little, large, silly and stupid nuances that make this fictitious life so relatable to fact.
Above considered, there might be one or two moments when you feel like you’re watching GIRLS (and I don’t even mean is-he-isn’t-he hunky Adam Driver playing Lev, Frances’ date/housemate). But whether or not this bothers you will depend on how seriously you choose to take the film’s universal themes and how well they’re brought to life by the cast.
Frances Ha is a film about being young, free and having the strength to just get on with it even when you’re unsure of what you want to be getting on with.
BY JACK ARTHUR SMITH
Frances Ha hits cinemas on Thursday August 15.