A New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, Oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
Frances lives in New York, but she doesn't really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she's not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren't really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness.Written by
Shorn of the irrelevant, this is beautiful, touching, real
Frances Ha (2012)
I liked this film in a kind of interested, warm way as it got going. Its black and white simplicity and its regular people both appeal on the most normal level.
The more I watched, however, and the more I absorbed the brilliance of the performance by leading actress playing Frances (Greta Gerwig), I became entranced and stunned. This is a great film. A great independent film, without production pretensions, but held together perfectly within its means.
This is worth making clear—the film makes a virtue of its simple approach. You'll never feel like it's technically compromised. The photography is a subtle, smart black and white. There's even one scene near the end where two people are talking in bed and they chose to use the very minimum of light, so you just barely see their faces. For a long deep conversation. Gorgeous, and effective.
It's Gerwig who steals the movie, for sure. And she helped write the really sparkling, believable, clever but never too-clever script. It's brilliant stuff. Brilliant. She hits a note of fast transparency, a totally "right" dialog and delivery. Way harder than it seems.
And the character she plays, Frances, is one of those lovable types where things don't go quite right even with all the best intentions. Most of us identify with that all too well. We have our better selves and we have the reality of where those good intentions have gotten us. And yet she perseveres. She puts up with strange but not unfriendly people around her in one apartment after another, and we get a glimpse of young New Yorkers with all their minor pretensions. Searing and funny and touching.
Don't be put off by the weird title (the one mistake in making the film) or by the beginning and its slow, restrained monochrome. The film makes the most of it all and is terrific.
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