Frances Ha

Frances Ha ★★★★

Similarly to Lady Bird, Frances Ha doesn’t have a traditional narrative structure - it flits from place to place with the unstoppable speed of a freight train. People drift in and out of Frances’ life, and she is the only constant. Some of the bonds she forms with people are foregrounded in the moment, and then disappear completely. Other bonds, like the one she has with Sophie, are so unshakeable that when Sophie leaves Frances’ life, we know she will eventually be magnetised back in one way or another. Gerwig pinpoints the people that matter most and shows how they endure above all else in Frances’ life.

All of Greta’s films (at least this and Lady Bird) are essentially “I relate sm” the movie. Through brief comedic one-liners, she captures abstract feelings. Frances is resilient but her life is in free fall, while those around her seem to be rising. She turns down help from others because she tells herself she only needs a few more days to get herself together and then her life will get on track. The biggest lesson she learns is to slow down.

I love the idea of “The Greta Gerwig Trilogy” as I’m coining it. Lady Bird and Frances may as well be the same person, as both films are so clearly autobiographical. Lady Bird is the first in the trilogy (her adolescence and beginning in Sacramento, which she longs to escape), Frances Ha the second (her life in New York, fumbling along, briefly revisiting home in Sacramento), and the third in the trilogy is... real life. It’s Greta Gerwig NOW. We’ve tracked her journey from adolescence to aimless adulthood, but at the end of Frances Ha she gains purpose. The whole film she is a dancer: her choreographer’s subject. At the end of the film she becomes a creator: a choreographer herself. In real life, we have seen her go from Noah Baumbach’s subject, interpreted by many as his “muse”, to directing her own film and fucking slaying it. Greta Gerwig is the creator now.

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