Frances Ha ★★★

A critical darling on its release, Frances Ha is likely to give indie sweetheart Greta Gerwig her most iconic role.

Frances is a 27 year-old dancer who is broke and not getting the break with her dance company she thinks she deserves. She's impetuous, occasionally childish, somewhat aimless, and alternately maddening and charming.

What follows isn't so much a conventional narrative as a series of snapshots into her life, and her interaction with her 'BFF' Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and a rotating cast of interchangeable hipsters in New York.

The obvious recent comparison is Lena Dunham's Girls. Ifg you like that show, you will probably love Frances Ha, if you don't like Girls, you might actually still kind of like this. It's far less acerbic and cynical than Dunham's series, and Frances is a more likable character than Dunham's Hannah. Sure, she is at times selfish, and she drifts through life like it owes her a living, but Gerwig's charm and her understanding with co-writer and director Noah Baumbach is such that these minor irritants are merely part of a well-fleshed and acted character.

Beyond this the narrative didn't grab me as much as I wanted it to, despite my investment in the character, and my fondness for the rather lovely black and white cinematography courtesy of Sam Levy. In many ways the slightly hazy nature of the storytelling is in tune with the traits of the main character but I wanted something a little more to chew on.

What I did like was the odd refusal to place a date on anything. Intertitles appear between scenes to inform us of the Frances' location, but never a date, or even a time. It adds to the strange fuzz that surrounds the movie.

Undoubtedly a film that will have many devoted adherents, I found Frances Ha a little insubstantial, albeit a worthy vehicle for Gerwig's particular blend of winsome cool. I also must admit I did find the explanation behind the movie's title at the end very cute.

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