Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★

"Frances Ha" is a wonderful film filled with awkward conversations, missed connections, and uncertainty. It's the sort of movie that has you cringing, urging the character aloud to "just shut up" as though you're watching a horror film and telling the main character not to enter the basement. Frances enters that driftless region so many people enter when they come into their late twenties, when they're unsure what direction their life should take now that the structured life of schooling has ended and all their friends are moving in different directions. It captures the social awkwardness of that time perfectly, as well as the striving to do what you dream of doing while still having to pay bills and the friction and frustration that results from that. It also wonderfully essays the resentment and poisoned envy such one feels when those around them are starting to get their shit together and they have no idea how to accomplish that. It's a small but beautiful film, rendered in gorgeous black and white. This movie consists of nothing but small moments, but they gain power in accumulation, as well as the perfectly captured sense of social awkwardness that infuses most of Frances's interactions with everyone around her. Greta Gerwig makes the inner life of her character tangible at all times, which gives those small moments incredible resonance. Her performance is the hinge of the film, without it nothing works, but fortunately Gerwig is simply effervescent even when she's being kind of terrible and making frustratingly bad decisions. Gerwig manages to make the personal journey of her character a universal one, to which we all should be able to relate in some fashion. Social awkwardness has never been so charming.

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