FRANCES HA: THE REVIEW

FRANCES HA has been one of the festival circuit favourites – I nearly had Kernel fights for tickets to see it at the SFF and even I am stinging to see it – it was full for the SFF so we all missed out. Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev, finally got to see it and shock horror, bought a ticket to watch it at the Possible Worlds Festival and you could say he was a little impressed. The good news is that FRANCES HA is out now at most art house cinemas, runs for a mere 86mins and is rated MA15+ – there may have to be a JK viewing this weekend if the cinema will let me in post Color Run 🙂 Enjoy it and honestly peeps – see more art house – open your mind and flush out some of the Hollywood crap of late 🙂

 

Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Patrick Heusinger, Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach, Andrew Brusentsev, Frances Ha Review
FRANCES HA: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

This was my first, and it turns out, only movie of the American / Canadian Film Festival held in Sydney. Why oh why does real life interfere with movies?? Anyways enough about that.

Noah Baumbach is a very gifted film maker indeed. His smash hit 2005’s THE SQUID AND THE WHALE was received with a treasure trove of critical and audience fanfare and his next movie 2007’s MARGOT AT THE WEDDING seemed to launch his name into the Indie “scriptgod” stratosphere. This was followed by his offbeat hit which I really enjoyed but I guess began to polarise his audience. Baumbach doesn’t skip a beat, he is very interested in character journeys and their inner moral compasses. I believe sometimes these are not easy things to watch without “a whole lot of dialogue”.

 

Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Patrick Heusinger, Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach, Andrew Brusentsev, Frances Ha Review
FRANCES HA: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

FRANCES HA, his latest creation with Greta Gerwig (who also stars as the films quirky yet brilliant star), will once again have his name on every hipster’s lips. Gerwig (who is Baumbach’s real life live-in love) plays Frances, a young woman who even at twenty seven is caught between the awkwardness of a whip smart intellectual youth and the ever growing realities of her adult present. She is a dancer trying to gain a position on a small dance academy.

Her best friend in the entire world is her inseparable soul mate Sophie (Mickey Sumner) who has been besties with Frances since both were in college. Frances even says “We are the same person, with different hair”. Their seemingly happy best friend existence is shattered though when Sophie (who she is living with) announces that she is moving to another apartment. One that Frances cannot afford. Dejected with this life curveball she finds a room for rent with two affluent layabouts, Lev (Adam Driver) and Benji (Michael Zegen). After some hilarious exchanges and a growing bond between the three, Benji pronounces Frances “undateable” due to her oddball habits and views on life. Their exchanges would make a young Woody Allen smile, they are droll, very dry and on reflection superbly funny. There are no laugh out loud moments here but the relentless observational dialogue is brilliant.

 

Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Patrick Heusinger, Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach, Andrew Brusentsev, Frances Ha Review
FRANCES HA: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Frances is by no means a woman who we don’t see any negatives about. She is completely self-absorbed in a very New York kind of way. She doesn’t get nuance (especially social) and misses most of society’s conversational cues. She has no inner monologue, she babbles incessantly to anyone about anything with no filter. But it’s not boring, in fact some of her insights are heart breaking, she is self-absorbed but there is no harshness about her.

Gerwig is simply brilliant as Francis; I find it hard to know what parts of Frances are not Gerwig (if that makes any sense to you as the reader). The performances mentioned by all above are excellent, there are no weak links but ultimately this kind of movie succeeds on the strength of the narrative and Gerwig’ s performance.

The other notable star is the way this movie is shot. It is entirely in black and white and due to the backdrop of New York immediately evokes Allen’s masterpiece Manhattan. There are scenes in it I believe are pure homage to this seminal movie. Whilst Allen used Gershwin, Baumbach uses French composer Georges Delerue just as well. Baumbach, through Gerwig, strikes a beautiful balance. Although the movie is filled with dialogue its essence is about loneliness, longing and a search for happiness.

There are a few blemishes that mar a perfect score but it is still very very good.

 

4 and a Half Pops