The indie film scene’s unlikely duo, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, surprised the world with their latest film Frances Ha. Shot in complete secrecy, the black and white flick, reminiscent of French New Wave cinema plays itself cool, but just-so-happens to be a complete revival of it.
Greta Gerwig plays Frances Ha, a clueless twenty seven-year-old who dances her way across New York City and has barely enough to pay the rent. She lives with her best friend, Sophie, who is introduced and shown as her soulmate. Frances refuses her boyfriend Dan’s request to move in and adopt two hairless kittens, because she had promised Sophie she would stay until the lease was over, which she thinks Sophie might want to renew. After a really weird break-up, she learns that Sophie is moving into the TriBeCa area with Lisa, a girl whom she doesn’t really like.
The film skips over the romance and plays on friendship and themes of coming to terms with one’s self. Frances has to learn from her mistakes and grow up before she’s able to fully grasp what it is to become an adult.
Baumbach and Gerwig curated a wonderfully written script loaded with wit, but one that also dabbles in the seriousness of complete conversation. Like Frances says in the film “It’s good to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it.”
Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II the film looks wonderful on the big and small screen, especially in the director-approved Criterion Collection Blu-ray release. Sam Levy’s cinematography is wonderful and shows us an intimate closeness with the characters’ actions and emotions. Showing us the beauty of New York and its awe-inspiring boroughs.
Adam Driver and Michael Zegen’s performances as Lev and Benji, two rich easy-going New York hipsters easily shows off skill. Performances that evoke curiosity in the film’s audience as to what could provoke characters to do the things they do. Like an impromptu two-day trip to Paris. Frances’ speech about what she wants, one that requires plenty of thought, but little experience to understand.
At first it’s tough to like Frances Halladay, but by the end you can’t help that you’ve fallen completely in love with her and the film; a modern classic that will be historical evidence of the lives of the new age’s hip, young people. It’s almost perfect and leaves little to be desired. A can’t miss for the film connoisseur or even the average moviegoer.