Frances Ha is a 27 year old New Yorker, stuck between nostalgia and acceptance; she is an adequate dancer with an overwhelming and loveable enthusiasm for life, even when her life seems to be at a dead end she manages to perk it up with humour and optimism. Frances’ only long lasting relationship in life is her undeniably strong friendship with Sophie; however when Sophie moves out to live with her boyfriend Patch, Frances suffers a downtrodden domino effect of bad luck.
Noah Baumbach takes a drastic spin on the idea of being a New Yorker. The film follows Frances through the ups and downs of her relationship with New York, as a 27 year old she realises she needs to advance her career and do something with her life, but doesn’t know how to start or where to go. The classy black and white style reinforces the focus of misery; either the misery of being single or the misery of being in a relationship, Frances always seems to be hiding behind a shadow. However, instead of showing her constant disappointment she takes a light hearted spin on the events around her, bringing a touch of humour and immaturity to the screen. As Frances starts to realise that optimism isn’t going to help her, she escapes to Paris for a wake-up call. Realising Paris wasn’t the right way to go she returns to college to relive the past in a work space rather than a student space.
It is the conclusion to this film which is most rewarding; it relieves you from the sympathy you may of felt earlier in the film and brings what Frances had all along-optimism. Baumbach’s new film is an inspiring story of optimism, nostalgia and friendship, focusing on the perks of failing rather than the disappointment.
Review by LiveWire Film Critic, Megan Al-Ghailani (July ’13)