Greta Gerwig stars in writer/director Noah Baumbach’s latest film, “Frances Ha,” about a 27-year-old dancer whose No. 1 talent is being a best friend.
The film opens with a montage of Frances (Gerwig) and Sophie (Mickey Sumner) scampering through New York City, tap dancing in Central Park, holding hands and snuggling in bed. When Sophie opts to move out of their Brooklyn apartment, Frances floats through roommates and apartments in the boroughs of New York. She struggles with money and motivation, and as a viewer, it’d be easy to get frustrated with her if it weren’t for Gerwig’s performance.
She’s an absolute joy to watch, and she makes awkward and aloof incredibly charming and comical.
In one scene, Frances is on a date with Lev (Adam Driver) and her credit card is declined. She says “I’m so embarrassed, I’m not a real person yet,” so genuinely and innocently that you can’t be embarrassed for her.
Later, Lev tries to make a move on Frances and she shuts him down in the most startling, awkward and hilarious way. In another scene, Frances jets to Paris with a credit card she recently “got in the mail” and wastes two days sleeping and walking the streets alone.
As a viewer, you don’t feel sorry for her thanks to Baumbach’s (director of “The Squid and the Whale” and “About Schmidt”) masterful talent at mixing drama with comedy.
Gerwig shares writing credits with Baumbach on this screenplay that screams Woody Allen (another reason to love it, as far as I’m concerned). It’s filmed in black and white, its main character is quirky and neurotic and its dialogue is subtle and hilarious (I laughed out loud and replayed parts to laugh again).
“Frances Ha” is a hilarious look at recovering from the hangover of a breakup — of any relationship — and finding yourself along the way. If it weren’t on streaming, I’d buy it. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner.
Director: Noah Baumbach.
Writers: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig.
Rated: R for sexual references and language.
Available: Amazon Prime, Netflix Instant.
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