Critics tagged Frances Ha as the best movie from Noah Baumbach to date. Judging from his first movie Kicking and Screaming to his most recent works, it seems like the filmmaker gets rid of caustic stance against the characters he made. It feels like he can only create privileged, socially crippled yet intellectual characters and it seems like he can’t stand to be in the same room as them.
Frances Ha is a departure from such films. The anger has faded and Baumbach creates a movie with fin, love and melancholy. It is a simple yet enjoyable movie. The titular character is played Greta Gerwig. He plays the role honestly.
The movie features micro-scenes from the life of Frances Ha. She is a dancer at heart. But in reality, she doesn’t have the skills to even be an understudy. This is the contradiction that the movie builds upon. Sophie (Mickey Sumner) is Frances’ closest friend but they seem to be drifting apart.
Sophie meets a potential husband and Frances decides to move in with their mutual friend, Lev (Adam Driver). She pays rent to live on the couch before she goes on tour with her dance company. The gap between Sophie and Frances grows because of this.
The cinematography of Frances Ha has an old Hollywood feel to it. Sam Levy captures the black-and-white compositions that makes the character grand in the eyes of the audience. It gives out the feeling that the filmmakers know what Frances is going through but don’t want to talk about it for the fear of hurting her feelings.
Frances Ha’s life is funny enough that the movie doesn’t need to make fun of it. Baumbach sees himself a kin of the French New Wave and this is felt all throughout the movie. It is like watching several short videos of Frances’ life compiled in a single movie.