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Frances Ha

It's been some time since a film has a profound meaning in my life, and after watching Frances Ha, I found myself staring at a film version of me: a twenty something year old who hasn't got her shit together in life. I'm a firm believer that at 25 you should have some kind of direction in your life. Frances Ha pretty much reminded me of that, and even if I'm still a couple of years away from that, I actually feel freaked out. Realizing something about yourself in a 90 minute film does say something about the work, doesn't it?

Shot in black and white, Frances Ha chronicles the life of a certain Frances Halliday, a modern day dancer who seems to live a carefree life with her best friend and her roommate Sophie. She was content with her current lifestyle, and was just in her comfort zone, that she even broke it off with her boyfriend in a relaxed manner, immediately assuming their break up after she rejected moving in with him. Her nice cushion of life began to unravel when Sophie announced that she's moving to a new neighborhood with a different friend, leaving Frances to ultimately fend for herself, and eventually find her own footing. We find her crashing in new friends' apartments, the inability to pay rent and go into further debt, and ultimately in a low low point of her life. 

Frances is an embodiment of those twenty somethings that are trying to piece their lives together. She inserts a certain independence in herself, and yet she herself hasn't exactly grown up. She makes impulse decisions, and breeze through days just lazing around, not even trying to find her utmost potential. She has pride in herself, and she is indeed a dreamer. We see how people around her live, she seems like a woman-child around her friends; while her friends are moving forward or doing something, she's just there on pause. Some people are lucky because at a young age, they already found something they like to do, or they know where they're going. For the rest of us, we are Frances Halliday. 

Greta Gerwig played Frances flawlessly, and it helped that she co-wrote the script, as she was able to analyze her character in an internal setting. I've been having trouble finding a Gerwig performance that doesn't seemed forced and was natural. I think it's safe to say that I found her performance perfect and she can carry characters written like this (though I hope she doesn't get stereotyped into these roles). The story does shed light on a reality lived by some/most of us: people who are having some kind of quarter life crisis (it is a real thing, I've been told). Baumbach and Gerwig were able to piece the script together that it doesn't fall from the norm of an average person. It seemed that we were meant to view ourselves as Frances, and her friends as people who we think are better off - but in hints and in subtlety, they are just like one of us. 

The story and Gerwig's performance pops on the screen a bit more because of how it was shot. Baumbach's use of black and white was perfect. Not only does it give a bleak setting to the film, but it allows the movie to pop out. Colors would not be distracting the attention to the scenes, and if you watch more carefully, sometimes you can see the pop of color in the scenario, whether it be Frances biking on the street, or her staring at her feet, or just plain dancing. The flow of the film was never uninteresting, but instead, added to the persona that is Frances. Through the scenes we find her self, her strengths and weaknesses, her falls and how she chooses to pick herself up again. 

Was it a life changing film? Maybe, but it was certainly an eye opener. While it did cause me a bit of a mental panic at the end, this was an entertaining piece by Baumbach. I think the topic is generally relevant in a woman's lifestyle (although that is because I don't know how men go about their quarter life crisis, or do they even have one at all - please enlighten me on this), and with the pressures of today's society, I don't think that anxiety is going away any time soon.


Final Word: Frances Ha encapsulates the feeling of being lost, making her way in the world through the monochrome tone Baumbach set her in.

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Director: Noah Baumbach
Year: 2012 

Comments

  1. I'm in my 30s, but I could definitely connect with Frances' uncertainty about her life. It feels really true to a certain point in time when there are so many possibilities, yet nothing seems to make sense. I totally agree about Greta Gerwig, who is so good and natural as Frances.

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    1. She was a natural in this one. I initially thought that I wouldn't like her character, as Gerwig was always playing quirky characters that don't really hit me (and it kind of hinders me from seeing more of her work).

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  2. I didn't really connect with Frances or the movie, I can see why so many people do but for me she was far too quirky, strange and hipster to relate to. Also I was so bored with this movie, even though it was 80 minutes long.

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    1. It wasn't her quirkiness that I related to, rather it was her life situation. I'm far from being similar to her personality, but the feeling of being lost and the uncertainty of the future was the eye opener for me in this one.

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  3. Oh I loved this movie. I know I'm passed that early 20s but I certainly remember those times when I watched this. Excellent and very fragile, but moving. Loved the soundtrack also.

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    1. It certainly was an eye opener in terms of life situation. It had me at a mental panic at the end, in terms of where my life is going.

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  4. I was a really big fan of Frances Ha. The run through the streets with "Modern Love" playing was such a wonderful sequence. Very nice review!

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    1. This film was an eye opener, and that was a wonderful sequence!

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