Written by Films

Frances Ha

Frances Ha is a wonderful little film, but it’s almost completely impossible to explain. The story focuses on Frances and her friends, as we see her life as a struggling dancer in New York while she tries to earn enough to pay the rent, and her relationships with those friends.
Chief among those friends is Sophie – “the same person with different hair” – who’s relationship with “Patch” is getting serious and in the way of her relationship with Frances.
And so we see Frances’ life through a series of stories, interspersed with title cards giving her address as she moves apartments around New York city.
The eponymous Frances is played by Greta Gerwig who co-wrote the film with director Noah Baumbach. She’s obviously someone who’s going places, since she was superb in last year’s Damsels in Distress. And we can only imagine what the abortive HBO adaptation of The Corrections starring her might have been like.
The most obvious comparison of this film is with HBO’s Girls with Lena Durham. This film even shares an actor in Adam Driver. But there’s a crucial difference. I actually like and care about the characters in this film – and Frances in particular.
I cared about Frances did next. Yes, none of these characters are on the poverty line, and they have aspirational jobs of sorts working for publishers, writing spec scripts (Gremlins 3 – which I believe might actually be coming) or being a dancer. Yet they’re not hideous and narcissistic like they are in Girls.
And the character of Frances is just adorable. She’s not having it too easy, but she does her best and helps her friends. There’s a lovely little vignette when she comes across a younger girl crying in a corridor. So she just sits down with her to be a companion.
Then there’s a delightful sequence when the camera tracks Frances as she dances and prances her way along the New York sidewalk. That scene on its own is almost worth it alone.
And that slightly peculiar title? Well you’ll just have to watch the film and find out. You really should watch it as it’s excellent!