Dir: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Summary: Frances (Gerwig), is trying to live her fantasies in the city, but she’s finding it hard when her best friend is setting out to live her own life and her dream job doesn’t seem to be coming along as easy as she hoped.
Lately, there seem to be an off- beat trend in comedy coming to our screens, whether the screen is big or small. These kinds of films are usually full of quirk, wit and ambitious ladies, with Lena Dunham’s Girls and Tiny Furniture being at the helm of this new, refreshing sub-genre of the so-called ‘chick-flick’. So, when the Frances Ha trailer began making the rounds in my local cinemas, it was fair to say, I was pretty excited.
What’s not to love? Frances, the main protagonist, is a kooky young woman who has a strong womance with her flat mate, Sophie. All this happens in the bustling city of New York, where Frances is an aspiring dancer…although, she’s kind of not a dancer. She’s an apprentice at a dance company, which I didn’t know was a real thing. Frances Ha looked like it was going to be fun; a real film for the girls (when I say ‘real’, I mean a film that doesn’t have that ridiculous makeover scene with No Doubt’s I’m Just a Girl playing in the background).
Yet, it didn’t go that way.
I tried to like this film.
Oh God, I really tried to like this film.
Frances Ha was supposed to be my type of chick-flick. To put it bluntly, I found this film to be one of the most irritating of the year. A lot of critics have raved about Frances Ha, calling it a ‘deft, uproarious comedy’ and have used words such as ‘romantic’ to describe it.
Uproarious comedy? I suppose I did titter, a little bit, but that’s my equivalent of one of them idiot’s who actually say the word ‘LOL’ out loud.
As to the romantic part…I can half agree on that. Aesthetically, the film could be seen as romantic, as Frances Ha was shot in black and white, which was a gorgeous feature of the film. Plus, the soundtrack track is pretty rockin’. Apart from that, the compliments run dry.
The culprit of my disappointment lies with Frances, played by the actress and co-writer, Greta Gerwig. Frances is a character who’s cringe-worthy, selfish, and reminds you of that girl who you know that tries too hard to be kooky and everyone’s best friend. If you don’t know her, it’s probably you. She’s constantly making the wrong decisions, which I think the writers Noah Baumbach and
Gerwig think is an endearing quality, but this is a woman who is supposed to be twenty-seven, but her behaviour on several occasions made me exhaust a long, accompanied-with-an-eye-roll, sigh. Okay, we get it, you’re the type of girl who likes to be IMPULSIVE and blow the remnants of your bank balance on drinks out instead of your monthly rent. Maybe I’m the boring one here, but whatever, I don’t find her behaviour cute.
The film made me question who wrote up this character. Frances Ha has the benefit of having a male and female behind the typewriter. So, I would have expected it to be a truer, more balanced experience and perception of a single female in her twenties, but it didn’t feel real, bordering on hyperbolic at times. Frances was spilling over the pan with negative traits, which made her character, as the leading woman, weak and left little connection or empathy. She didn’t have time to come up for air. It was one selfish, bad decision after the other. I had to ask myself, is this male perception of the real-life “quirky” girl?
Other than that, the ending was sloppy and rushed, and maybe I would have preferred the makeover scene if it offered more development. The highlight was that they played David Bowie’s Modern Love twice throughout, the second being in the credits. Maybe they were trying to cash in on the fact that the loyalties to this song, I would imagine, would not have been on the cheap-side. However, it was a nice touch. Apart from this, I’m going to tread with caution with the next film that stars everyone’s favourite Indie Cindy in her vintage dress. Yes, Zooey Deschanel, that’s a definite ‘no’ to you.