Guy at Dinner: What do you do?
Frances: It’s kind of hard to explain …
Guy at Dinner: Because what you do is complicated?
Frances: Because I don’t really do it …
And that my friends, is the essence of Frances Ha. As IFC Films tells us:
Frances lives in New York, but she doesn’t really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she’s not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren’t really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness.
Later Frances will tell us: Sometimes it’s good to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it.
That’s our girl, Frances Ha. She’s wonderfully portrayed by Greta Gerwig, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Noah Baumbach who also produced and directed this gem of a film in pure black and white. With Frances – awkward is the new beautiful. Putting her foot in her mouth is an every day event with her, and guess what – from the beginning of the film to the end – and even when you go WTF – it’s still endearing.
Remember when you were a kid, and your aunt or your uncle asked you, What do you want to be when you grow up? Well Frances is 27 and even now, she has no more idea about what the answer to that question might be than she did when she was 7.
The hits, or should I say the laughs just keep on coming at you. Frances and her best friend Sophie have shared an apartment since their college days. They describe themselves as “an old lesbian couple that doesn’t have sex any more,” and they’re straight not gay. Or “the two of us are like one person only with different hair.” Or the best one – Frances describes herself as being “almost a real person.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the premise. While her friends make plans, make decisions, struggle and ultimately find their way, Frances isn’t even able to hold her present position. While others succeed and move forward, she’s slowly and surely slipping backward.
But despite all of her all too obvious shortcomings, her awkwardness, (she even says that she’s too tall to get married) the fact she’s frustrating and embarrassing, Frances, as well as the film, keep their heads up. Gerwig’s smiles are infectious. Frances has this zest and the positive outlook that keeps her going. No apartment – no problem. No money? She’ll still pick up the check at dinner. No job, no worries – she’s working on it.
You’ll just love her.