“Frances Ha” is a charming and witty coming-of-age film

frances-ha

Writer-director Noah Baumbach collaborates with his real-life girlfriend Greta Gerwig to make “Frances Ha,” a lighthearted comedy that also pays tribute films made during the French New Wave, American-style.

Gerwig (who also co-wrote the script) plays Frances, a woman in her late 20s who is an amateur dancer and lives in Brooklyn with her best friend and longtime roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner). When Sophie tells Frances that she is moving out with her boyfriend, Frances is crushed not only because she feels like she is losing her best friend, but she can’t afford  to pay the apartment’s lease. Frances’ life starts spiraling out of control as her carefree, free-spirited lifestyle begins to affect her in a way where she is eventually forced to confront adulthood head-on.

“Frances Ha” is a charming and contemporary tale that is full of spunk and a massive amount of heart. While this is a comedy, it is also a coming-of-age of women who have not (or don’t want to) reach adulthood as they face an uncertain future.

Baumbach and Gerwig have crafted a fresh and witty screenplay that allows Gerwig to showcase her persona and surround her with some quirky, fun-loving characters like Frances’ two hipster artistic roommates (Adam Driver and Michael Zegan). While Gerwig has been good in films like “Greenberg” and “Damsels in Distress,” she truly delivers the best performance of her young career as she truly brings a fascinating character like Frances to vivid life. Gerwig is the embodiment of optimism as her character lives life playing by ear and always hopes for the best, even when things don’t exactly go her way.

As a director, Baumbach take incredibly realistic and uncomfortable moments like Frances’ awkward dinner scene with roommate Rachel (Grace Gummer) and shape them into immediate and personal vignettes, which allows him to combine those vignettes into a delicate and funny film. Baumbach revitalizes the French New Wave by shooting “Frances Ha” with the similar filmmaking style that made Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut famous without being too distracting or using it as a crutch to tell the story. Sam Levy’s gorgeous black and white cinematography not only captures the naturalistic backdrops of cities like New York City and Paris, but it also gives the movie a timeless quality.

“Frances Ha” not only showcases Gerwig’s talent as an actress, but also as a writer by helping Baumbach craft a  movie about post graduate men and women who aren’t quite ready to be responsible adults.

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