Frances Ha

May 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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“Frances Ha” seems to have stepped right out of the 90s indy film movement and reminded me of the early works of Jim Jarmusch, Kevin Smith and Rose Troche.  It was directed by Noah Baumbach, who also directed the brilliant “The Squid and The Whale” and “Margot at the Wedding.”  He wrote both of those screenplays and has contributed to such widely diverse films as “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “Madagascar 3.”  He co-wrote this film with Greta Gerwig, the 30 year old actress best known for Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” and the super-indy “Baghead.”  “Frances Ha” is black and white and very modest in scope, following a young New Yorker through several months of her life (maybe a year or more?) as she deals with sort of growing up.  Frances has a bond with her best friend Sophie (played by Mickey Sumner, Sting’s daughter) that she describes as “an old married lesbian couple without the sex.”  A true enough description probably.  So, when Sophie suddenly moves out (and on with her life), Frances is left grieving but not knowing how to express it.  She spends the movie fumbling through finding out who and how to be.  The film is full of the anxious and disaffected youth of films like “Slackers” and “Go Fish.”  While not as funny as “Clerks,” this film was genuinely funny throughout, though it’s humor is far sweeter and sillier and less biting than “Clerks.”  This was a lovely and touching film, acted with a sort of perfect, wide-eyed goofiness by Gerwig.  It is modest in scope and far from a masterpiece.  Nor does it feel as relevant today as the same type of films did 15-20 years ago.  However, it felt almost nostalgic to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I will definitely keep an eye on Baumbach and Gerwig in the future.

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