30/07/2013

Frances Ha

I don't particularly care for Noah Baumbach's work, mumblecore, try-hard hipsters or painfully indie movies and to be honest, I've never really understood why people make such a fuss over Greta Gerwig, so I wasn't really inspecting to enjoy Frances Ha. The first 20 minutes were filled with so many things I hate I was quietly wishing I stayed home instead of wading through traffic in 30 degree heat but somehow, I was won over by the comedy-drama and its genuine wit, warmth and unashamed sweetness.

Frances (Gerwig) is a bit of a mess. She lives with her friend, smokes out of windows, considers play-fighting to be a legitimate activity and wears leggings under floral tea dresses. How dreadful. But despite all that she possesses a quiet determination to succeed as a dancer in NYC even though she's 27-years-old and working for a company with no money or space for her. While trying to re-think the direction of her career her personal life also lands in the shitter when her friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) decides to move out of their Brooklyn apartment leaving Frances, who can't afford the rent on her own, to find a place. Aside from her aspirations the film is also about her relationship with Sophie; a couple so attached to each other they're happy peeing and sleeping together even when they don't need to. When Sophie suddenly decides to live with someone else Frances tries to be happy but looks like a woman who's just discovered the love of her life is marrying someone else.

Aside from Sophie and her John Lennon glasses supporting characters range from charming rich boys to less charming rich people, but Frances Ha is always about Frances. She so easily could become an irritating navel-gazer but Gerwig turns her into a real person with a believable life despite its unpredictable, plot-driven twists. When she's rambling about God-knows-what you can understand why everyone else in the scene is awkwardly looking at the floor and wondering if this girl is on drugs, but it's her energy and obvious desperation to get where she's going that makes her so endearing.

Its monochromatic indie ways along with the leading lady's loose jaw should grate even the most forgiving audiences but thanks to Gerwig and the zippy script that skips along without missing a beat, France Ha is unexpectedly lovely.