Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★½

Roughly fifteen to twenty minutes into the film Frances Ha, I had serious doubts regarding whether I was enjoying what I was seeing. Twenty minutes later, I was still wondering, was this all amounting to anything meaningful? Was Noah Baumbach really accomplishing anything with this work, or was it an attempt to be clever and interesting that unfortunately was falling short? Then a strange thing happened: I realized I loved this film, and I honestly am not even sure why or when I officially felt it.

Frances Ha tells the story of a 27 year old woman named Frances living in New York City and aspiring to be a dancer, with nothing quite working out for her during her journey to find herself, maintain friendships and start new relationships, and stay afloat financially until she reached her goals. Greta Gerwig both stars as Frances brilliantly, giving this film a spark and a unique beauty with her odd charm and likeable persona even at her lowest of lows, and she also co-wrote the film with Baumbach which is the most stunning achievement of the film. The script is the star here, so witty and fascinating, teetering on the edge of overly hip and clever to the point of pretentiousness but never actually going over the line.

I have come to realize just how much I love films shot in black and white. Ironically, as technology progresses and high definition becomes crisper, better and brighter, a beautifully filmed and simple black and white is stunning to look at, and Frances Ha is no exception. Much like with the Woody Allen classic Manhattan, something about the backdrop of a city or the bland look of an apartment seems so authentic and enticing when seen without color. I have seen Paris on my television many times, but I have never wanted to go there and truly experience it as much as when I see it filmed in the muted perfection seen in Frances Ha.

I cannot put my finger on exactly what I loved about this film, or why I loved it. All I know is I do. It's charm got to me over the course of a short, snappy 86 minutes, and I want more. I want to come back and do it all over again. I found Frances to be an incredible relatable character, even though our lives our totally different. I was married by 22, had a child by 23, and I live with my family in the suburbs of Chicago, yet I know all too well what it's like to try to scrape by paying my bills each month still to this day. I could feel the disappointment during the scene in which she receives bad news about her work schedule, because I have been there. I think anyone who has been down on their luck with life, friendships and love can find something to connect with in this film.

Funny how fast things change, only an hour ago I was telling myself Frances Ha may just not be for me, not my cup of tea, but now I sit here wondering when I can watch her run down the street to the sound of Modern Love all over again.

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