Frances Ha (2012)

frances ha poster 2012 review
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Greta Gerwig, universal feel of the story

Some might want a more story driven film

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Frances Ha

Studio:   RT Features

Genre(s):   Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):   September 1, 2012 (Telluride Film Festival)/May 17, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:   R

francis ha dancing in park greta gerwig mickey sumner

BFFs forever!

Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) and her best friend Sophie Levee (Mickey Sumner) are the same person.  They live together and do everything together…but unfortunately things can’t stay the same.  When Frances and Sophie begin to grow apart, Frances finds that the people she was friends with are moving on and finding bigger and better things.  Frances dreams of being a dancer are failing and even Sophie seems to have left her.  Frances just wants to find the magic in life and her own direction.

Directed by Noah Baumbach, Frances Ha is a black-and-white comedy drama.  The film was written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2012 before receiving a wide release in 2013.  The film was met with critical claim, and the Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #681).

I’ve seen some of Noah Baumbach’s films and enjoyed them.  He’s a lot like the often creative partner Wes Anderson in that his film has a real style and feel to them.  He does experimental stuff with his writing and style technique and in that case Frances Ha is no different.

frances ha 2012 greta gerwig adam driver dinner

And here’s where I turned on my Jedi masters…

Frances Ha isn’t very story driven.  It received a lot of comparisons to Truffaut’s in its style of storytelling and almost glimpses of life.  The core of the film is about life and how people enter and exit your life, but they will always still be there…and sometimes they come back forever.  Frances wants her life to stay the same, but she can’t stop people from moving on and mistakes she makes.  She wants to live as a free-spirit but sometimes that isn’t always possible.

Greta Gerwig really drives the film.  She’s flighty and carefree but there is also a bit of sadness to her.  Moments like the dinner party with people she didn’t really know showed her inner soul and how she struggles to fit in.  Mickey Sumner plays the friend who takes the more traditional route and sometimes regrets it…they are two sides to the same coin.  The movie also features an early appearance by Star Wars’ Adam Driver as a roommate of Greta Gerwig.

frances ha sophie greta gerwig mickey sumner

Two sides of the same coin?

Baumbach chooses to shoot the movie in black and white.  This once again gives it a Truffaut type feel to the movie and also gives it a bit of timelessness.  The largely New York City setting (Brooklyn) tries into Frances’ free spirit…she’s living poor and struggling but she always has a home and is happy.

Frances Ha works because the character is very identifiable.  Sometimes things change and you don’t want them to change, but you can’t do anything to stop the world from spinning.  The result is, like Frances, you must deal with what you have…and just keep dancing in your heart if nothing else.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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