Friday, August 8, 2014

FRANCES HA

Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver,
Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper



Frances (Greta Gerwig) is in a league of her own. She works at a dance studio but is not really a dancer. Merely one of the many alternates to the lead. Yet most of the time, she never gets her chance to take over the lead dancer. 

She lives in New York with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and she describes their friendship as two girls who are basically the same but have different hair. Soon enough, Sophie moves out of their shared apartment to live in with her boyfriend which basically leaves Frances, homeless. Until she finds an apartment which she shares with two guys but is mostly too broke to pay the full rent. And perhaps to add on to the mysticism of Frances, director Noah Baumbach presents her story in black and white mode. 

But the truth is there is nothing mysterious or mystical about Frances. She is pretty ordinary yet it is admirable how she just never quits whenever the tough gets going. In her case, the situation is mostly tough going yet she just carries on in her insouciance ways. Other lesser beings in her shoes would certainly have quit or who knows gone into some deep depression but not Frances. 

In between her 'dance' gigs, she goes home to visit her parents and relatives in some suburban town. Once there, it seems that she is just one of the guys and fits perfectly well in her surroundings. She meets up with friends and relatives, goes to Church. Everything is just so ordinary. Even her parents are laid back. They don't hound her with questions about her job or her life in New York. She is there just for a visit and after a few days, she returns to her non-life in the Big Apple.

At another instance, at the drop of a hat, she decides to go to Paris just for ONE weekend. Never mind that she just got downsized in her job at the dance studio. Never mind that she has no itinerary. She just hops on a plane, charges it to a credit card which was sent in the mail by some telemarketer. But luckily she was able to stay at the Parisian flat of a friend of friend she just met who offered their place. She is mostly jet lagged, can't seem to get hold of a former classmate who lives in Paris and mostly just roams the streets of Paris without doing any touristy stuff. After all, she was just there for 2 days because she had a meeting on Monday at the dance studio.  Only TWO days in Paris??? Gosh who does that??? 

I guess in some ways, it is interesting to see how the present generation adapt to life. While, most of them are ambitious and very driven, Frances is the complete opposite. But in the end what really matters is that she is not a quitter because as the end credits roll by, you can't help but smile as things are finally picking up for dear old Frances. That somehow. one doesn't really have to worry for her well being as she is quite capable of coping with life and everything it entails. 

Good solid acting from Greta Gerwig in her typical subdued, subtle style. Most of the time, she looks like she doesn't know what she is doing but it is quite suitable for her role as Frances.  By the way, Frances Ha is the abbreviated form of her full name.  It didn't fit in the mail box of her new apartment so she merely shortened it to Frances Ha. An attitude which perfectly describes her personality!
 

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