Sunday, 22 December 2013

Frances Ha - Film Review

Starring: Greta Gerwig

27 year old Francis (Gerwig), an apprentice dancer, is at a loss when best friend Sophie announces plans to move out of their shared apartment. Floating through various living arrangements and piecemeal jobs in the year that follows, Frances becomes increasingly bemused at her lack of prospects compared to those around her. 

 Just as E.M Forster's 'The Longest Journey' quietly found its way into my life with its fortuitous timing (see blog post here), Frances Ha is my cinematic soothsayer equivalent. Millennials and 20-somethings alike would find this utterly relatable for its themes of quarter life restlessness. 

Frances Ha encapsulates the confusion and anxiety felt at the realisation that life is now a competition you had no wish to partake in - especially when it feels like you're losing. Friends who spend every waking moment with you now have plans that for the first time don't include you. Being in your 20s is now considered 'too old', or old enough to by now have a 'suitable job' and second homes.
As a twenty something Londoner, lacking the effortlessly cool apartment and hip neighbourhood to boot, I did feel slightly at a distance to the Manhattan setting and at times irritatingly carefree exploits of the characters. In one of her flippantly nonchalant moods, Frances takes off for a solo weekend in Paris. Bored and alone, the highlight of her Parisian foray is a call from erstwhile friend Sophie, holding out an olive branch to which Frances cannot commit to - being unceremoniously unavailable for flying out of the country on a moment's whim. (How she affords this when much of the film centers around France's financial woes was also to my chagrin). Nevertheless, I did like the whimsical nature of France's decisions, offset to her ever growing realisation that nothing goes to plan.

Her confusion at other people's sense of 'having it together' is both adorable and amusing and perfectly set to a dinner party, where acquaintances are married with second homes in France and express bemusement at Frances attempt to do the 'grown up thing' and ask ironically what their jobs are. This is offset with the more laidback table gatherings with flatmates Lev and Benji, who may not be quite as grown up but still leave Frances incredulous that everyone has it more together than herself. 
Greta Gerwig's performance is less frank and self aware as I anticipated it may be with my initial reservation that Frances Ha would be little more than a feature length episode of HBO's Girls. Instead Gerwig is awkward enough to be relatable, yet not so much to be irritatingly self complacent. With jubilous moments such as Frances running down the street to the score of Bowie's 'Modern Love', the carefree but wry element of Frances Ha is more visible for being shot in black and white.
 Have you seen Frances Ha? What were your thoughts?


  1. I haven't seen Frances Ha but I think we're in similar stages of our lives (I'm in my final year at Uni - definite twenties crisis ahoy, meep!) so will definitely check it out -- also had a look at your review for EM Forster's novel...have added it to my (stupidly long) to-read list! xxx

    1. Thank you for your comment, I'm glad it prompted you to read Forster. It's a book that really resonated with me this year, and I hope you find the same!