Rod Sedgwick’s review published on Letterboxd:
''It's sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don't have the ability to perceive them...''
So after much fanfare and hoopla, I finally ventured into Frances Ha with the anticipation of a Woody Allenesque affair with a mumblecore edge, and I guess that is what I got, yet sadly it didn't click as much as I had hoped.
Noah Baumbach certainly has a knack for observant dialogue and sharply written fare, and I remember liking The Squid and the Whale a reasonable amount. I was initially quite caught up in the energy and bristling pace of Frances Ha, with it's honest and relatable relationship between two best friends, some energetic David Bowie and Hot Chocolate numbers to spice up the proceedings, some awkward conversation amongst similarly displaced College grads who can't seem morph in to the big bad world and an annoying as hell, yet strangely endearing Great Gerwig as the titular character.
I always find it lazy criticism to punish a film for focusing on unlikeable people, and it's not really my hesitation in embracing it. I just did not connect with Frances' arc throughout the film, nor the people that revolved around her, and by the end I felt nothing for her, nor a desire to spend any more time in her world. I related to many observations throughout the film and responded to some of the dialogue and musical choices, yet nothing really resonated with me enough to consider this a complete success. Also the black and white photography may harken to films it is paying tribute to, but I can't say it was stylistic choice that was necessary.
Great Gerwig is unique and idiosyncratic, and I can understand her appeal, as I can also with Baumbauch's observations on displaced and delusional character's, yet I just felt an emptiness as the credits rolled that I didn't anticipate. Sure some people don't change all that much and we see her make just enough headway in her life in the last few moments that we can see she will be just fine, but is that enough for me after all the times she made me grimace and slap my forehead throughout her little journey, not really I'm afraid...