Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★½

How do you review a film that paints the very picture of your own life and puts it up on the screen for the entire world to take a look at & reflect upon? There are going to be a lot of people who will find nothing good about this film and might even call it annoying or overrated. And there is nothing wrong with those people. But there are also going to be many for whom this film will strike an entirely different chord and might feel something special if they find it beautifully capturing the little snippets of their past or present lives. And there is nothing wrong with these people either. As for me, Frances Ha is undeniably one of the most delightful films I’ve had the pleasure to experience and connected with me on so many levels that for the most part, I consider it to be a reflection of my very own present life.

This indie offering tells the story of Frances, a 27-year old woman living in Brooklyn with her best friend Sophie and even though she is unsure of her career at the moment, it doesn’t bother her much as her friendship with Sophie is what’s dearest to her and remains her top priority than other things in life. But when Sophie decides to move out and live with another friend, their seemingly inseparable friendship is put to test as Frances is left on her own to figure out how to live her life. And thus we embark with Frances on her downhill adventure where we witness her living in New York but having no apartment, working as an apprentice for a dance company but having no dancing skills. And even though she throws herself into vocations that have little to no chance of success, it is her indomitable spirit & unaccountable joy that keeps her going & unfazed from the harsh realities of life.

I haven’t seen director Noah Baumbach’s previous works so really had no idea what to expect from this film but now that I’m very pleased with the elegant manner in which this film is crafted, I’m surely going to give his other films a try soon. Baumbach co-wrote the script with actress Greta Gerwig who plays the titular character, and the screenplay is a pure gem. The conversations feel very natural & unforced, the intriguing characters are carefully curated, the humour is wonderfully handled, and although this story is about friendship & road to adulthood, it never goes 'in your face' or tries being a social commentary. Camera crisply captures the events in black & white to provide a timeless sense to its story & locations. Editing briskly paces the drama, and the incorporation of right songs at right time only uplift the narrative.

Coming to the performances, Greta Gerwig is absolutely adorable as the endearing & undateable Frances and it is her heartwarming rendition of this cheerful character only that bestows an immense warmth to the whole picture. Frances is a 27-year-old woman with a weird combination: she looks older than her age but her behaviour is also very amateurish & childlike yet there is a lot to love about her. She has the excitement & optimism of a teenager, is an amazing & caring friend, welcomes the good or bad surprises of life as they come, her decisions are rather impulsive and she never tries to be something she is not. All in all, Gerwig has done a fabulous job in bringing Frances to life and her blatant expressions while delivering the dialogues plus the absence of 'grown up' acts add even more richness to her character. Mickey Sumner plays Sophie & her chemistry with Gerwig is delightful to watch. Lev & Benji, the guys with whom Frances shares an apartment in New York for a brief period, are also interesting characters and in a way, there is something unique about almost everyone in this film.

Few viewers complain that Frances is simply an immature character who is still clinging on to her dream world instead of moving on, taking responsibilities and dedicating herself seriously to get what she wants from her life. What these people don’t understand is that not all who wander are lost and that there is a small crowd out there that gives higher priorities to other things in life than just success or failure. There is a moment in the film where Frances wonderfully expresses what she wants from life and it’s a clear sign of how much her best friend matters to her. Things change, people change & life keeps testing us at all times but most of us still wish to relive the most memorable time of our lives or resurrect the relationships that once seemed invincible. And that’s what this film is about. On an overall scale, Frances Ha is an immensely satisfying comedy drama that handles its complex issues in a very light-hearted manner, has such sweetness & charm to it that it kept a smile on my face throughout its runtime and for the kind of film it is, it surely deserves a broader viewership. Surprisingly impressive enough to rank amongst the best films of its year, Frances Ha comes one hundred percent recommended.

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