It’s a fun time, when an obsession hits me. Every now and again an intense feeling hits me over a particular actor or actress, and I feel the need the spend the following weeks consuming their entire filmography. What follows is normally hours of watching sub-par rom coms and dramas that make no sense to me, but every now and again I come across a real gem, a movie that makes me forget why I watched it in the first place. That happened to me the other night with Frances Ha (2012).
It’s an indie movie following a girl living in New York called Frances (Greta Gerwig). She lives in an apartment with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and the two are closer than sisters, and life seems great, but Frances ends up separating from her boyfriend when he asks her to move in with him, and Frances is reluctant to leave Sophie on her own. What makes things worse is not long after, Sophie moves out to live with her boyfriend, and that’s where things really go downhill.
After she is forced to move out, Frances moves into a lush apartment inhabited by rich boys Lev (Adam Driver), who brings home a different girl every night, and Dan (Michael Esper), who she has a playful friendship with, with Dan picking up on all the quirky things she does and labels ‘undateable’, but with affection. It reminded me of when I was younger, and that’s how I envisaged my life panning out, living in a huge apartment with my friends. I mean, that’s not even a thing here in the UK, but regardless, the movie shows the downsides to this, too.
To be completely honest, it took weeks to eventually see this. I even considered not watching it at all, and for a silly reason to. It’s all black and white! An odd choice for a modern movie but I read that director Baumbach did it to instill a feeling of nostalgia. Being the same age as Frances, I can’t see it that way, but what I did find that without colour, I was fully focused on everything that the characters were doing and saying, and it held my attention more than most movies do now. Weird! I clearly have a much shorter attention span than I thought I did.
Frances goes through a lot in this movie, but essentially, it’s about break-up and change. Not a break-up in the traditional sense either, but a best-friendship break-up. It’s quite heartbreaking to watch, and although I couldn’t relate at every moment, I could definitely see parts of myself in Frances. Especially in the scene around the dinner table. I honestly feel so lost in group conversations sometimes.
I haven’t mentioned the soundtrack yet, either! It’s not something I normally even pick up on, but some of the songs in this had me dancing in my seat with a smile on my face. And finally, it isn’t until the very final scene that we learn why the movie is called Frances Ha. It’s such a minor thing, but it’s a detail I really appreciated.
After watching, I’d decided to give this an 8/10, but now I’ve written this review, I feel like I enjoyed it more than that...I don’t know. This is a placeholder score for now!