Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2013)

What's it about? When her best friend moves out of their boho Manhattan apartment, Frances (Greta Gerwig) ends up couch-surfing through a number of different New York accommodations as she adjusts to the change and figures out what to do with her life.


Is it any good? An amiable, but rather aimless film about an amiable, but rather aimless character. Gerwig (who co-wrote along with Baumbach, her real-life partner) plays it nicely enough and prevents Frances becoming an utterly insufferable presence, although some viewers may still find her aggravating. It has some nice moments and B & W photography, but overall it's too meandering and unfocused to really pull the viewer in. Plus the explanation of the title in the final scenes irritated me immensely. Why wouldn't she just write smaller? Or on two lines? Or maybe she could just have written Frances Meh.

I don't trust you. What do others think? The B & W photography and angsty nature of the film has led many to compare it to Woody Allen's Manhattan, as well as some of his other early work. However, it lacks the wit and insight to be considered as a worthy successor to those films. Likewise, it has been likened to some Truffaut and Godard films from the 60s, which Baumbach admits were an influence. But again it doesn't stand comparison as it lacks the effortless Gallic hipness to be considered as the new French New (York) Wave. A more contemporary comparison has been the lauded HBO TV series Girls, and this is a much better parallel as it's not very good either. Zing!

What does the Fonz think? Mumblecore, Schmumblecore.





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