Milez Das (Rohit Shivdas)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Frances Ha begins with a platonic romance with her room mate and best friend Sophie. We see how the play, fight, smoke, cuddle on subway, sleep in the same bed, watch movies and read aloud to each other. In simple words Frances can be Herself with Sophie.
"We're the same person with different hair"
Despite her love to Frances, Sophie moves out of their apartment to a very expensive place with another friend Lisa. This is the first step that upheavals Frances. Suddenly she and Sophie aren't seeing as much of each other, and a result she is completely adrift. Frances spends the rest of the movie desperately seeking other people and places that will tell her who she is and who she will be.
We watch Frances fail, over and over again. She's looking for Magic. She actually uses that word often like, "You guys are like magic", to Benji and Lev who are her new male roommates and "I bet it's magic" about Paris, where she has never been but will go to an failed attempt to cheer herself up.
But the Magic always drains out her.
One of the moments that despair Frances is when she lands back in New York and receives a too late message from Abby her Paris friend and while listening to that message we see France's face, almost expressionless.
France's two greatest talent, which we see at the beginning, are running romantically through the streets and making omelets. She is being an aspiring artist in a major city about trying, consciously or unconsciously to make a life look like your favorite movie.
Frances takes another trip to her childhood home. She has a long conversation between Frances and her mother looking at old Christmas ornaments. "Oh, here's the green ballerina"says her Mother(Which is played by Gerwig's actual mother)"You were the green girls". "Right, yeah, that was our level. We were level green" Frances says.
Frances lets go of a dream of becoming a dancer but rediscovers another one as Choreographer. She looses Sophie to Sophie's fiance, but eventually they make a eye contact which was romantic and which was described by Frances at a dinner party. Frances is confused, but she's not crazy.
At different points of the film we suspect that that the whole movie is leading up to a Frances-Benji romance. Their relationship contains all the elements of rom-com tension and bad-good timing. Benji clearly adores Frances and shows up for her dance performance at the end of the movie. They also admit to each other that they both are single. There is also a pause there. Who knows if Frances and Benji will ever get together? It's actually irrelevant in the romance that in this movie. Frances ability to live alone, and inch towards artistic fulfillment, is the happy ending we get, and its totally satisfying.
And the wonderful details like Frances's tendency to eat fast, Sophie and Frances's a little romantic light. Lev's family portrait of people who are not his family. The dialogue fragment we hear from France's dad while he and France walk the dog."Well, you know, your mom-". The fact that they bring the dog to the airport. The fact that we never know to which Woolf novel Frances is referring.
The images in France Ha have a kind of luminous, throbbing quality in them. France lives in 2013 and yet she refracts light from 1960's and 70's. She is inside a movie learning that life is not a movie. The last scene where Frances spelling out her full name and then displaying two-thirds of it. Like she has almost reached adulthood but isn't quite there yet. We leave her there. IT IS MAGIC.
Frances Ha is a romance. Not a boy-girl romance or a girl-girl but between her capital Self.