Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★

I first watched Frances Ha not long after it was released, in my pre-Letterboxd days. On initial viewing, the younger me simply took this as a charming tale of an awkward young woman trying to get by in New York City. On that level, I found it enjoyable. Watching Frances Ha now at the age of 28, my perception has changed enormously. Frances is an insufferable narcissist. Her friends are vapid and pretentious. Her relationships are superficial and self-serving. She harbours an unattainable dream and is seemingly unable to consider the reality that her lack of talent makes inevitable. She draws her every interaction back to herself - if only to make some hollow self deprecating statement. On the surface, she is infused with Greta Gerwig's natural charm & therefore gives off an air of likability - but did just a little bit deeper and there isn't really much to like about this character. Noah Baumbach & Gerwig's choice to present this character as such is what gives this movie its power. Frances is completely and undeniably a millennial. The character traits I've described are so prevalent in this generation that it makes this depiction all the more biting. I absolutely recognised aspects of myself that Frances shares, and perhaps that is why I found this film so frustrating and yet so impactful. It really captures the nuances of this generation. Yes, this includes the grating aspects I mentioned before, but also includes the hope, the single-mindedness, the openness and the unwillingness to settle for less that signifies this generation. On that basis, Frances Ha works. On that basis, the ending is a cop-out, as it seems to feed all of Frances' worst impulses without the nuance required to round out the story. Perhaps I'm totally misreading this film, and hopefully this is at least somewhat coherent - I don't usually write 'reviews' (if this can be called a review) like this, but it was just running through my head as I took in the story. On a final note - this film looks beautiful.

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