Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm Not a Real Person Yet

Frances Ha (2014) - Baumbach
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I am more than mildly surprised by Noah Baumbach's acute observations of 20 somethings giromance movie Frances Ha. No less impressive is Greta Gerwig's performance as Frances, a young woman with a case of post-college blues. At 27, while painfully aware of time passing and her aimlessness, Frances hops around overpriced New York apartments filled with equally underachieving, too-clever-for-their-own-good 20-somethings with their parents' money. There is no visible obligatory character arc Frances has to reach. Her goofy, girl-next-dormroom persona stays put throughout. "I'm not a real person yet," she replies in one of the conversations. It's an easy justification/defense mechanism of the man-child, but also the truth. Things get a bit real: her roommate/best friend Sophie moves in with her boyfriend. She doesn't get the dance company job where she dances as an apprentice. And she doesn't have money to pay for a Chinatown apartment she shares with two hipster boys.

After a blissful, yet way too cozy Christmas break back home in Sacramento, things hit a sour note. After insisting to crash at one of her friend's apartment, it becomes apparent, whether she realizes it or not, that her goofy antics are not that fetching to anyone anymore. But instead of getting her shit together, out on a whim, she takes up on the opportunity of staying in an apartment of acquaintances in Paris for a weekend, just before an interview for a job at the dance company that she may or may not get, blowing money on plane tickets.

The thing is, I've known plenty of girls like Frances and I can't help myself rooting for her to succeed, whatever that might mean. Gerwig's adorable with her catoonishly big smile and manly works and her 'undate-ableness' and all her small quirks. Frances Ha is a chatty movie but never expository, focused yet universal and a visual marvel featuring unassuming streets of New York in black and white. Baumbach gets extra points for aping Modern Love sequence from Leo Carax' Mauvais Sang.

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