Frances Ha ★★★★½

It's not often that you see a character as strong, genuine, and lost as Frances Halladay, played by Greta Gerwig with a sort of confused passion. In some instances, you might say that a standout character makes the movie. Frances is the standout character of this film, but more than that, she basically is the film. It's centered around her emotional highs and lows, career troubles, and search for a place to live. Throughout, we see Frances at her highest and lowest. By the end of the movie, she is one of the most endearing and relatable characters I've seen in film.

Gerwig, who co-wrote the movie with Noah Baumbach, makes the character her own with ease. She perfectly expresses the pain of a person growing up who should have grown up already. To put it plainly, Frances needs to get her shit together. She may be more honest than many of the people she encounters, but Frances struggles in a world that may not allow her dreams to come true despite the effort she's put in.

After watching the movie, I can see how much the black and white helps establishes the mood and look of Frances Ha. The movie was clearly influenced by the French New Wave, which shows in the great soundtrack, too. The film, however, is undeniably American, and very much of its own time. Frances is a modern woman trying to make sense of the world around her and figure out how she can fit in without sacrificing what is essential to her character. As a character study, Frances Ha is an unqualified success, and one of my favorite movies of the year.

Not many films can tell an honesty story with such passion and skill, but Frances Ha excels in it, and stands as a great example of actor-director collaboration. Seeing Frances sprint around New York City to the tune of Bowie's "Modern Love" is the perfect antidote to the cynicism and falsity you see so often in movies today.

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