Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★★

I decided to make this the first film of my twenties. It's now the last hour of my birthday. Although this pandemic has thrust my life into a glacial pool and stopped it all, ideally I'm graduating college by the winter and I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen next.

I feel like this shouldn't be so resonant. I'm not a breezy, beautiful white girl living a whimsical life of art and boys and drinking. I don't have any friends I can hang out with even if I wasn't forced to be inside due to an unstoppable force far beyond me. But I feel like if you think this film is a twee celebration of indie lifestyles of the wannabe starving artists that have gentrified New York City, you're kind of missing the point.

Frances isn't happy, but I think she's the only one who still believes she can be. She's naive and hopeful and stubborn. This is what makes her childlike to everyone around her. It's why she has an old face and doesn't have her shit together. It's why she's undateable: she's still becoming her best self. The smug, insufferable indie movie this is masquerading itself as to the inattentive viewer is just a pastiche. No one living that life around her is truly fulfilled and happy. Everyone else has burdens and regrets and bitterness, but Frances still hopes to rise above it. She still hopes.

There's a joke in a song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend I think about a lot:

"If you saw a movie that was like real life
You'd be like, "What the hell was that movie about?
It was really all over the place."
Life doesn't make narrative sense"

Frances Ha is very much a depressive spiral put to film. When your brain has decided You Are Unhappy And You Cannot Do Anything To Change It, it feels like every facet of your life has come undone around you. It feels like things will never, ever get better. And what snaps you out of it may not just be one thing. It could be a long while before you decide to chase after what you want, and not wisps of other people that you think can fulfill you. And that's why Frances's happy ending is so real. It's because she worked for it, it's because now she knows she can do it. And so can we. So can I.

I don't know where I'm going to go once I graduate. I don't know where I'll be a year or five or ten from now. But I think I can go forward like Frances did.

Jael liked this review