Actor Appreciation Week 2 Review: Frances Ha (2012)

One of the best films of the last few years, and arguably one of the greatest indie films of all time, Frances Ha sparkles because of the kooky, infectious joy of Greta Gerwig’s greatest performance. Frances is a twenty-seven year old dance apprentice, living in New York. We follow her as she moves from apartment to apartment trying to find her way in life. Friendships are born, others fall by the wayside, as she tries to earn enough to pay her rent. It’s a twentieth-century tale for those who don’t quite fit into the stereotypical model, for those who want to carve their own path. Gerwig’s Frances is a once-in-a-lifetime character, so full of enthusiasm at times, and yet with a certain underlying sadness. Unlike other Baumbach creations though, the sadness is not as prominent as the obvious joy of the character. That is thanks to Gerwig who just exudes awkward charm as Frances. There is also the not insignificant addition of a fabulous soundtrack, which adds an impressive extra layer, somehow giving the film even more warmth than Gerwig had already infused in it. There’s no great set pieces, there’s barely even any big arguments, it’s just the everyday life of a pretty regular person, and yet it is completely addictive viewing. It is in fact essential viewing. Somehow, using good ol’ fashioned simplicity and charm, Noah Baumbach and Gerwig have created a great monster of an indie movie that all others must now try and equal. A joy to watch from beginning to end, Frances Ha is the birth of a star.

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