Frances Ha

Director: Noah Baumbach
USA | 2013 | Fiction
Run Time: 86 minutes
Film source: IFC Films

Frances Ha

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Buoyed up by a charming, winning performance by Greta Gerwig (who co-wrote the script), Frances Ha unfolds as a witty, enjoyable series of snapshots of the life of the title character, a young woman adrift in Manhattan. Though she’s funny, charming, and great fun to get drunk with, Frances can’t quite get her act together. But, unlike director Noah Baumbach’s previous, rather more serious films, The Squid and the Whale and Greenberg (also starring Gerwig), Frances Ha takes a lighter, even comical look at young, urban driftlessness, without ever glorifying it. Shot in black and white and set chiefly in New York City, Frances Ha’s tip of the hat to Woody Allen’s Manhattan suggests that the film is as much about that dynamic city as it is about its loose-knit story. More prominent an influence is that of the French New Wave, which crops up in the film’s use of music by Georges Delerue, the charming purposelessness of the main characters, the cinematography, and even offhand references to Jean-Pierre Léaud and François Truffaut’s Small Change. Baumbach’s film boldly asks viewers to consider it within the contexts of film history, yet remains a charming, modern-day, urban fable, with which we can all identify.