44 Films: Film 5 of 44: "Frances Ha" (2012)
Film 5 of 44:
"Frances Ha" (2012)
Written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Copious conversations, essays and (cringe) think-pieces have been created in honour (or derision) of The Millennial. This mystical, ubiquitous creature is taking over the world, bringing into it influences and attitudes that differ from The Establishment's in peculiar ways. Frances Ha explores this novel worldview in its fabulousness and failure. Its representatives are two 20-something year old best friends living in present day Brooklyn. One is the carefree will-make-it-one-day dancer, Frances (Greta Gerwig). For the explanation of her peculiar last name, stick with the film to the end. The other is her more intentional and orthodox best friend with the 9 to 5, Sophie.
Frances is without a mate, a job, and at most times, a place to live in. Her slew of housemates include Sophie (who forsakes her for a lavish, more expensive apartment in Tribeca), two charming but generationally privileged young men (one of whom sits in his underwear writing spec scripts for SNL and Gremlins 3, while the other is artistic and sexually indiscriminate), and college-age girls with whom she has to share a dorm when stuff really gets thick. She aggravates her debt when she goes on a credit card-paid trip to Paris for no reason, and watches helplessly as her life choices gain an evident disparity with Sophie's.
Where this real-life tedium would wear out mere mortals, particularly we regimented pre-Millennials, Frances drifts along, remaining humorous and optimistic, almost completely unaware of the awkwardness she surrounds herself with.
Frances Ha is a modest and heart-warming film about relationships, attitude and the passage of time. Baumbach and Gerwig's story reminds us that we're all changing; moving in varying directions and speeds. We drift apart, coasting behind and ahead of each other, becoming extra terrestrials to people we were once deeply connected to. That's life. When we allow ourselves intervals to just be, we realise that we're all in similar struggles, and that gives us the community we need, until the wearying cycle resumes; or in the case of this film, evolves.
For more excellent work by Noah Baumbach, see The Squid and The Whale which he directed, and Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which he wrote.
See you tomorrow!