Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★★

“I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.”

Oof.

As an almost twenty something still struggling to fully take the leap from adolescence to adulthood, this one spoke to me.

I see a lot of myself in Frances. I see the faults and I see the failures, but I also see the sense of fun and freedom we share as well. We’re both messy and we make mistakes, but we’re just trying our hardest to keep that inner dreamer spirit alive when the rigidity of adult life threatens to stomp it out.

Frances has her dancing, I have my writing. We both take shots in the dark, hoping and praying that we achieve in our dreams in any capacity, even despite the knowledge that aspiring for a career in the arts is almost 99% guaranteed to let you down. No matter how many times we face rejection or disappointment, we can’t quite fully let go of that aspiration, because it’s become a part of us. It’s engrained in our identity. There’s no way we could exist as ourselves without pursuing this passion.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really, really loved this. I can’t believe it took me so long to watch it, but it honestly came at just the right time. As I’m doubting some career choices and making big life changes after completing half of college, I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been on unstable ground, but this film helped set me up straight and feel in control again. It was the big, warm hug I needed.

The black and white aesthetic makes this story feel so classical and timeless. Baumbach and Gerwig’s screenplay wisely eschews any stereotypical plot construction in favor of emphasizing emotions and little moments alongside Frances’s plentiful flights of fancy.

On top of all of praise I’ve already heaped upon the film, I want to commend it for giving me one of the most beautiful on screen representations of a friendship that I’ve ever seen. Frances and Sophie felt so real to me, and I see my own relationship with my best friend in these two.

“It's that thing when you're with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it... but it's a party... and you're both talking to other people, and you're laughing and shining... and you look across the room and catch each other's eyes... but - but not because you're possessive, or it's precisely sexual... but because... that is your person in this life. And it's funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it's this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. 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. That's - That's what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”

We don’t know where we’re going. We don’t know where we’ll end up. But we do have a say in who we take with us on the journey. Who we’ll have in our corner. And as I recklessly still attempt to pursue my most scattershot dreams, I’m glad I’ll have my best friends by my side to make sense out of the madness. I’m gonna fuck up, and I’m gonna fail, but I know to take the setbacks in stride and never stop dancing until the day I die.

“I like things that look like mistakes.”

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