Lee’s review published on Letterboxd:
A beautiful tale of growth and independence told through the eyes of Greta Gerwig’s Frances. Baumbach grounds his film with such a maturity in the way he manifests events for his focus to follow and Gerwig reacts wonderfully, turning in a performance of sheer persistent and humanity. If anything I expected heart from this movie. I anticipated Baumbach to follow in the vein of his previous success Greenberg – my only prior knowledge of his work – and he does to a degree, encapsulating his film with such a tremendous amount of articulation, but the way Baumbach utilises more light-hearted traits really surprised me.
It’s a very funny film, but the smiles that Baumbach generates are not just there to occupy the viewer, they work as more of a platform to understand the oddball traits of Frances. She conducts herself in such a bizarre way. She wants to be this mature woman with a permanent job, but she can’t hide away from her more careless, endearing attributes. To some its constant force and Gerwig’s hysterical ways may be frustrating for some, but there’s so much to admire about it. Gerwig exhilarates these attributes, giving them a focus and a reason to exist.
She also portrays heavier emotions in this film, many of which hit me harder than I anticipated. Even in brief, seemingly insignificant moments such as Gerwig’s departure from her parents as she steps on the escalator and the realisation her best friend is leaving for Japan without telling her first really bring home the meaning of Frances Ha. It’s a film with a dose of enthusiasm and attitude, but Baumbach’s film is also one of precise beauty and heartfelt reality. Shot in crisp black and white, this is one of the year's best.