Film Review: Frances Ha

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in Franes Ha

Frances Ha is an excellent character study. It exhibits director Noah Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig’s talent for writing.

Frances lives in New York and apprentices at a dance company. As her relationship with best friend Sophie changes and work is unsteady, Frances decides to follow her dreams, despite her unnaccountable nature, and uncertain living arrangements…

Baumbach’s Frances Ha is a memorable comedy drama. The humour is slight, but frequent. The more emotional moments are restrained and occasional, but do well to induce sympathy or empathy in viewers.

The title character is brilliantly written. Frances is a protagonist that is endearing as well as frustrating. These different layers make her more human. Nevertheless, not all viewers will buy into the character. For those that do not, Frances Ha will be a bit of a chore.

The film is very much about friendship and maturing. It is likely that Frances Ha will appeal to viewers who have more experience of this. There is a level of freedom that the character has which may put her beyond the point of identification for some. However, the core themes are more universal than this.

Baumbach’s direction offers a genuine sense of intimacy. This is particularly acute in some of the more cringe-inducing moments. Viewers are not given a reprieve from the situation.

Shot in black and white, there are visual references to the Nouvelle Vague films that seem to have inspired Frances Ha. Eagle-eyed viewers may spot the cues. The style and setting also add to the appearance of Baumbach’s film as somewhat of a homage to the French New Wave.

Great Gerwig offers a wonderful performance as Frances. The actress knows when to push with her character’s vexatious habits, and when to hold back. The result is a character that seems wholly authentic.

Frances Ha is likely to divide viewers. For those that get on board, it is an entertaining experience.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of stuff on upcoming movies this week, including the brand new Anchorman: The Legend Continues trailer, Disney’s Frozen, and more…

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Here is the latest Anchorman: The Legend Continues trailer. Almost ten years later, one of the funniest comedies of the 2000s gets a sequel. The original cast are joined by a host of other stars, including Harrison Ford, Tina Fey and Sacha Baron Cohen. Anchorman: The Legend Continues hits the big screen on 20th December 2013.

Frozen

Here is the first trailer for Frozen, the latest animated comedy from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The trailer reveals little about the plot, which revolves around a girl trying to find her sister in a kingdom besieged by an eternal winter. Frozen is due for release on 6th December 2013.

The LEGO Movie

The first trailer for The LEGO Movie was released today. Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Elizabeth Banks, The LEGO Movie will be released in UK cinemas on 14th February 2014.

The Wolf of Wall Street

There was a palpable excitement (at least virtually) when this trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street was released on Monday. There is little not to like in this trailer of Martin Scorsese’s latest film. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill (and a monkey!), The Wolf of Wall Street is out 17th January 2014. I can’t wait.

The Wolverine

Here is the latest trailer for The Wolverine. I wonder if one day Hugh Jackman will become too old to play Wolverine. But for this upcoming film he still looks the part. The Wolverine will be released in 3D on 25th July 2013.

300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire is a prequel to the 2006 hit 300. The film has the same look as its predecessor, even though Zack Snyder is not at the helm for this adventure. 300: Rise of an Empire is due for release in March 2014.

Frances Ha

Here is the trailer for Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, co-written and starring Greta Gerwig. Worthy of the praise it has hitherto received, the film explores the friendships of a dance company apprentice in New York. Frances Ha is released in UK cinemas on 26th July 2013.

Despicable Me 2

Above is a short featurette with Steve Carell exploring the upcoming animated sequel Despicable Me 2. I am kind of relieved that there is a unicorn in this film as well. Despicable Me 2 hits UK screens on 28th June 2013.