Frances Ha is a beautiful black and white comedy by Noah Baumbach about a struggling modern dancer in New York. This fast paced movie emphasizes the dynamic city that never sleeps and the changes in the main character’s life. The movie is co-written by lead actress Greta Gerwig and earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
Twenty-something Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner), trying to make ends meet.
When her boyfriend asks her to move in with him she has trouble leaving her roommate who is, as they say several times throughout the film, like the same person with different hair. Since the lease for their apartment lasts a couple of months they decide to keep on living together and Frances breaks up with her boyfriend.
Frances is single and ready to mingle
Later on though, Sophie moves to Tribeca, a wealthy neighborhood in Lower Manhattan with Lisa, a girl she doesn’t actually like but who happens to have found the place. Unable to pay the rent on her own, Frances moves in with two male friends of hers in Chinatown.
Lev (Adam Driver) is a player who brings home a different girl every time he enters the flat. Benji (Michael Zegen) on the other hand is an aspiring television writer who remains single most of the time and marks Frances as undatable on several occasions, little to her liking.
Frances goes back to her roots
When her dreams of becoming a professional dancer are shattered, she goes home to California to spend Christmas with her family and friends. Frances’ folks are actually played by Gerwig’s real parents.
At the dinner table she finds out second hand that her best friend Sophie is moving to Tokyo for work. When suggested to spend some time in a couple of friends’ apartment in Paris, Frances buys an airplane ticket without hesitation.
On her lonely trip she receives a phone call from Sophie inviting her to a farewell party in New York later that night. Also in the French capital she tries to reconnect to a friend living there but can’t reach her until she’s almost back at the airport.
Her two day getaway costs her more than she can afford and as she earns some quick cash as a waitress on her old college’s summer party she meets Sophie and her husband in an awkward situation.
Frances is reunited with Sophie
Back home she reconciles with Sophie and attempts a relationship with Benji before finally finding her own place to live and earning an income as a choreographer.
After several struggles with relationships and different jobs she seems to have found her place in life and in the big city and to have found peace with herself.
Frances Ha is a frivolous and funny movie
Gerwig’s boyfriend, director Noah Baumbach, known for The Squid and The Whale and While We’re Young sketches a funny image of what life is like for young adults trying to make it in the Big Apple.
The relatively unknown cast does a good job in portraying some Friends like characters with their own priorities in life. The dialogues seem very spontaneous and unscripted so the movie could be categorised as mumblecore.