12 September 2012 7:21 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Greta Gerwig is clever as well as kooky in this charming black-and-white fable of a quarter-life quest in New York

"I'm not a real person yet," stutters the heroine of this cutely serious movie about a hapless dancer flat-hopping around Brooklyn. At 28, without a solid job or stable partner, Frances is flailing, for all the fun she's having. "You look a lot older," says someone comparing Frances to her best friend, "but you seem far less mature."

Greta Gerwig – who began in the lo-fi likes of Baghead and Hannah takes the Stairs before graduating to more grown-up roles (Greenberg, Damsels in Distress) – takes a happy back-skip into her mumblecore comfort zone for this black-and-white, semi-improv study. Her genius move is hauling an accomplished film-maker back into the zone with her. Noah Baumbach, making his most compassionate movie since 2005's The Squid and the Whale, gives these lives the full French »

- Catherine Shoard

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