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Frances Hmmm...
Nik Neal2 June 2013
Can't really decide how I feel about this film. It was somewhat intriguing, beautifully shot (in black and white), and the lead character was perfectly cast. I love quirky characters in independent movies, but most of the time I couldn't decide if Frances was incredibly endearing or incredibly annoying. Immature, yes. Quirky, yes. Childlike, yes.

I didn't by any means hate this movie, but I did not love it as much as others. It is a film like no other, and worth a watch, but it left me feeling ambivalent. There was really no plot, which made sense because Frances didn't really seem to have any clearcut goals or ambitions (other than being a dancer, which wasn't ever going to happen). She lived moment by moment and the film took us on her journeys even though I am not sure they served much of a purpose.
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Though Frances may be undateable, the film is unmissable
Howard Schumann23 June 2013
Being called "undateable" is sort of like a team player being labeled "uncoachable," not a strong recommendation. This label tags maturity-challenged Frances (Greta Gerwig) in Noah Baumbach's warm-hearted comedy Frances Ha, a film that has genuine affection for its characters. Co-written by Baumbach and Gerwig and supported by an eclectic soundtrack that includes music by French film composer Georges Delerue and the songs of David Bowie, Frances Ha (the title is explained in the film's final shot) is a film in which people talk and act like real human beings, not cardboard caricatures manipulated by a self-conscious script that "strives for reality." Though the film is full of light-hearted energy, it does not strain to be quirky or "in your face." It is clever because that's the way it is.

Shot in black and white by cinematographer Sam Levy, 27-year-old Frances lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her girl friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). She wants to be a dancer, and apprentices for a small dance company, but seems to lack the determination to really develop her talent. Though the exact nature of their relationship is not spelled out (what you see is what you get), they are at the very least good buddies who are tight. Frances says her relationship with Sophie is "like a lesbian couple that doesn't have sex anymore," but Sophie is not quite as attached and tells Frances that she has decided to move in with her upscale boyfriend Patch (Patrick Heusinger).

Refreshingly however, the story is not about relationships being the necessary ingredient of a woman's self-esteem, but simply one component of an internal growth process. Frances goes out with Lev (Adam Driver), another under-achieving New Yorker, but her economic needs trump her physical ones and she moves in with Lev and his roommate Benji (Michael Zegen) on a strictly platonic basis to save on the rent, although Benji develops a real connection with her (which Frances is blind to). She stumbles through relationships, not making a terrific impression. One woman tells her in talking about her friend, "You look a lot older, but you seem far less mature." Frances does not have the kind of job prospects that she alludes to with her friends and her overall veracity is questionable, but she makes up for it with tons of charm. She actually makes some stabs at shaking things up, going home to Sacramento to visit her parents (Gordon and Christine Gerwig, her real parents), impulsively flying to Paris for a weekend to prove to a friend that she can, and, upon returning after a joyless weekend, taking a job as a "drink pourer" at Vassar where she had gone to school. Unfortunately, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Although Frances Ha is about young New Yorkers living on the margins, it is not and does not aspire to be a commentary on the current economic situation or the plight of young people. The film is about talented folks who have not quite gotten it together and whose level of responsibility lags somewhere below the norm. The characters have their flaws and are not always self aware, but Baumbach recognizes that the process of growth does not happen suddenly and refuses to judge his characters, or make snide commentaries about New Yorkers.

Frances Ha does not rely on formula or relationship clichés to make its points, but only on the performances to bring the characters to life. Baumbach and Gerwig take us on a wild ride without any clear signposts, yet the trip is poignant and even beautiful and we can joyously sense the light around the next turn. Unlike the angry, unpleasant Roger in Baumbach's previous film Greenberg, the more you hang around Frances (Greta Gerwig), the more you grow to like her insanely. Though Frances may be undateable, the film is unmissable.
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The obligation of growing up
Steve Pulaski9 June 2013
Is it fair to call Frances Ha a product of the mumblecore movement in cinema or is it all too, well, professional? Noah Baumbach's examination of culture, early adulthood, and obsessive friendships not only makes for a good, topical debate but a very worthy motion picture, as Frances Ha is one of the strongest films this year. Heavy on dialog, characterization, and the strong, stable topics to examine, this is a thoughtful mediation on what it means to grow up, stay true to your friends, and be self-reliant.

The film stars the zealous Greta Gerwig (whose work in Hannah Takes the Stairs I still regard as terrific) as the title character, a plucky dancer at the age of twenty-seven, living with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Summer) and her best guy-friend Benji (Michael Zegen). Frances and her friend Sophie are like "straight lesbians," so Benji says, as they do everything together, and both of them would seemingly be lost without each other. The thought is put to the test when Sophie decides to move out of the cramped studio apartment in favor of moving in with another friend, leaving Frances sort of lost and unfulfilled with her current position in life.

This is basic framework for a story that begins to follow the path of a series of vignettes, focusing on the ups and downs in life, along with those awkward stretches no one really likes to talk about. Baumbach brilliantly captures this through a black and white lens, and allows his actors the freedom to get immersed in their characters with little restrictions in place.

Frances Ha does a lot in eighty-six minutes, like notably humanizing the "hipster" culture of the last few years, detail loneliness and friendships, impending adulthood, and dependence all the more. The humanization of "hipster" culture comes into play because we notice that these characters are not of the "typical" breed, whatever we define as typical. They are about as free and unrestrained as the wind that catches their hair, especially Frances herself, who is arguably one of the most fun characters I've had the pleasure of watching this year. There's something about the way she engages in quick-witted conversation, runs happily through the streets of Chinatown at random, and is constantly proclaiming she is "undateable.' Gerwig magically transforms a character bound for a caricature state of mind into a strong woman that may not be looked at as a role model for girls but certainly a realistic portrayal of many.

I imagine the loneliness that the loneliness and slight-depression Frances feels when Sophie leaves her is one many post-college girls will feel when their best girlfriend moves on to bigger and better things and she remains somewhat inert and stuck in her current life position. Baumbach details growing up in Frances Ha not as a choice but as an obligation, which it rightfully is in many regards, but the way he doesn't isn't condescending or superficial, but rather hopeful and endearing.

NOTE: My video review of Frances Ha,

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Summer, and Michael Zegen. Directed by: Noah Baumbach.
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The Unbearable Lightness of Frances
David Ferguson30 May 2013
Greetings again from the darkness. All the critics are raving about it. Love abounds for the latest from director Noah Baumbach and his co-writer and leading lady Greta Gerwig. What makes my ambivalence even more confounding is that I'm a fan of Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) and Gerwig (Greenberg). The expert level of filmmaking and acting is obvious, the script details and dialogue are exceptional, and the situations and setting are realistic. So why aren't I more excited about this one? That's what I've spent the past few days wondering.

It seems Frances Ha delivers everything I look for in an indie film. The problem is that I find almost every character to be annoying and self-absorbed. The first act finds Frances (Gerwig) sitting on top of the world. She has a boyfriend, a BFF/roomie, and is a dance company apprentice with the expectation of a dance career. Soon enough she watches Strike Three go by and her world is in a tailspin. We then watch Frances trudge on through uncertainty and instability in living arrangements, personal relationships and career path. It plays like a road trip that really never hits the highway.

Frances moves in with Lev (Adam Driver) and Ben (Michael Zegen) and she is oblivious to Ben's interest as she obsesses about her former BFF Sophie (Mickey Sumner). See, Sophie is trying to grow up while Frances wants to stay in her dream land where she and Sophie remain "the same person with different hair". Frances then crashes at the apartment of a fellow dancer played with all seriousness by Grace Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter). The two dancing opposites attend an awkward dinner party at which Frances manages to spew an endless stream of absurd remarks that advertise her lack of maturity. Her response to this is to take a spontaneous trip to Paris ... charged to a new credit card.

Make no mistake. Frances is a very energetic and sincere free-spirited twenty-seven year old. The kind that is only charming in the movies. If her quirk wins you over, you will find yourself rooting for her to get her life together. That would put you in the same corner as most other film critics. On the other hand, if you recognize the optimism, but are unmoved by the immaturity and self-absorption, then you are banished to the corner of those who "just don't get it". And I'll be right there with you.
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Worst highly regarded movie of the year
Niklas Schultheiss9 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
My girlfriend and I were excited to see this movie--(97% on Rotten Tomatoes)...but were extremely disappointed. We would have stopped half way through, but were convinced something redeeming would happen in the last half. There wasn't. Obviously we are outnumbered on this one.

Why? I couldn't find a likable character anywhere in the movie. And Francis--cute and endearing to many, it seems--came across as shallow (with mindless drivel usually coming out of her mouth), spacey, childish (comes off as a needy grade schooler at times), entitled (that she can coach surf indefinetely) and selfish. She comes off as a stoner/dancer trust fund kid who hasn't worked a hard day in her life. She appears to be floating around New York with very little passion or interest in anything. Even her "love" of dancing feels lukewarm as she seems unwilling or unable to put any real work behind it (until the final scene of the movie). And you fly all the way to Paris just to sit in a coffee shop? C'mon. I'm sure this all sounds harsh for the vast majority of people who liked this film, but I haven't seen such annoying group of characters in a very long time.
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A comer in every sense of the word!
Hey I can't disagree more with the previous poster (Mark Rogle). Woody Allen's Manhattan is a classic, but that was another time and another world.

FRANCES HA was SPOT-ON regarding actual life, work, and social issues that apply to the current age. The comedic timing is flawless, as is Gerwig's deadpan expression. While shot in Black & White, it added to the range of locales - making it believable. The same can be said for the characters (including Gerwig's actual parents). Another New York "slice of life" story, but truly believable and entertaining!

What the movie wasn't, was overly cerebral and full of fantasy situations (like "Girls"). Also, Hannah in "Girls" is always dressed like a deranged person, playing up a strangely shaped body that distracted from the prose of her productions. Gerwig's character had no such wardrobe overkill - it complemented the actress and the scenes perfectly.

As an actress, Greta Gerwig is funny and poignant, straddling the line between ordinary-looking and classically beautiful. Everything is expressed in her eyes. She's a magnificent writer as well. Highly recommended - by me!
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Shorn of the irrelevant, this is beautiful, touching, real
secondtake4 December 2013
Frances Ha (2012)

I liked this film in a kind of interested, warm way as it got going. Its black and white simplicity and its regular people both appeal on the most normal level.

The more I watched, however, and the more I absorbed the brilliance of the performance by leading actress playing Frances (Greta Gerwig), I became entranced and stunned. This is a great film. A great independent film, without production pretensions, but held together perfectly within its means.

This is worth making clear—the film makes a virtue of its simple approach. You'll never feel like it's technically compromised. The photography is a subtle, smart black and white. There's even one scene near the end where two people are talking in bed and they chose to use the very minimum of light, so you just barely see their faces. For a long deep conversation. Gorgeous, and effective.

It's Gerwig who steals the movie, for sure. And she helped write the really sparkling, believable, clever but never too-clever script. It's brilliant stuff. Brilliant. She hits a note of fast transparency, a totally "right" dialog and delivery. Way harder than it seems.

And the character she plays, Frances, is one of those lovable types where things don't go quite right even with all the best intentions. Most of us identify with that all too well. We have our better selves and we have the reality of where those good intentions have gotten us. And yet she perseveres. She puts up with strange but not unfriendly people around her in one apartment after another, and we get a glimpse of young New Yorkers with all their minor pretensions. Searing and funny and touching.

Don't be put off by the weird title (the one mistake in making the film) or by the beginning and its slow, restrained monochrome. The film makes the most of it all and is terrific.
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Did we see the same movie?
LilyDaleLady10 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I read such euphoric, glowing reviews of this film, I was expecting something truly special. I love "The Squid and The Whale"; I have admired Gerwig in other films as a natural-looking and sweet actress. I like black and white films, New Wave "homage" and old Woody Allen films like "Manhattan".

By the time I actually got to view this film, I was jazzed about it. It has incredibly high ratings on Rottentomatoes and other, major downer.

The problem may be that since it came out, I've seen most of the TV series "Girls". It feels like "Frances Ha" is very derivative of "Girls', or even Lena Dunham's earlier film "Tiny Furniture". The subject of loserish young women in Brooklyn -- living on their wealthy parent's dime -- is getting awfully tread-worn. I think directors and professional reviews (most of whom live in NYC or LA) have over-estimated how much this reflects the reality of life for young people today. Only a tiny percentage can afford this kind of la-di-da lifestyle, and the privations ordinary young people would really face are far worse than depicted here.

Frances comes off far worse than even Dunham's Hannah Horvath (who is merely whiny, irritating and self-important). She is actually presented here as sweet, but semi-retarded -- a 27 year old divorcée (a point nearly every reviewer has MISSED) who is so childish that she skips & plays like a 10 year old, dresses like a little kid, has a female best friend (but no particular drive for a boyfriend or lover) with whom she holds hands like little kids -- Frances playacts at lesbianism, without the passion for that either -- runs in the street and urinates in public (may I say here: ewww).

Like Hannah Horvath, she can manage to live in one of the most expensive areas in the nation, without a real job, because (apparently) her parents must be sending her thousands of dollars each year. There is no other way this adds up. Frances has no job -- she's an "apprentice dancer", which seems doubtful pays anything at a tiny company. She's not good enough to make the cut for a member of the company, which is painfully obvious from seeing Gerwig galumph around -- she isn't built at all like a dancer, she's broad in the shoulders, thick-waisted, with the oddest mannish walk.

The filmmakers don't seem to have even the slightest clue about how hard dancers have to work -- the constant studio work, classes, workouts, DIETING -- obsession with their body (which is, of course, their tool). Frances mostly sleeps around all day. She doesn't take class. She doesn't audition. Any inclination that she might really be a choreographer is dumped on the audience in the last few minutes.

The film follows Frances as she loses her apartment, when her roommate (the so-called "best friend") callously moves out and leaves her in the lurch. This makes the whole idea that the two women are inseparable, lover-like, intimate best friends very unbelievable. Who would not know this in advance? What kind of friend would move out in 2 days, knowing they would leave you homeless? Frances then moves from one acquaintance to another, crashing in their apartments, while doing....well, nothing in particular. Certainly not dancing, nor choreographing anything. She makes a disastrous, expensive trip to Paris -- mostly to show off to her better-off acquaintances -- and then has to spend the summer working at her old college as an RA.

The most confusing bit for me was when Frances runs into her EX-HUSBAND ("we used to be married") -- hello, this was never previously even hinted at. I don't even see the actor in the credits here! When was Frances married? for how long? when did she divorce? There isn't a word about what would have been a major relationship, lifestyle change, emotional upheaval. It might have well explained everything she does in the film, but it is dropped as a "fact bomb" near the end, unrelated to every single other thing in the plot. (For example, we are led to believe Frances is deeply attached her best friend Sophie, because she lacks the maturity to form a relationship with a man....but if she did fall in love & marry AND DIVORCE -- all since college only 5 years earlier -- she certainly did do those things, and recently.)

It is a cheap shot, and one I have seen before, to have Sophie seem to have achieved adulthood and the "perfect life" with a rich boyfriend in Japan...only to quickly show it is all a sham, they are not in love and Sophie is drunkenly unhappy, and then it is really Frances who is doing OK after all. None of this is foreshadowed; it feels like wish fulfillment and sour grapes ("I'm so jealous of my friends, maybe they are not really as happy as they look!").

Sophie has been such a rotten, unfeeling and cruel "friend" to Frances, you can't help but hope she IS out of Frances' life forever.

Lastly: at the end, Frances is shown happily in her OWN large apartment, with a wooded view (in Brooklyn?) that she can suddenly afford, on the pay from a part-time secretarial job with a tiny modern dance company. Say what? That's science fiction. Maybe this film was misshelved.
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I wanted to like this film.
Meatdawg7 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Warning this review does contain spoilers! I really wanted to like "Frances Ha": after all it is an independent movie, right? Anymore, I wonder what kind of weight the term "independent" carries at least in the realm of movie-dom. This was the second movie that my friend and I saw that evening so we chose "Frances" because it seemed like lighter fair from the spy movie we saw earlier. My friend found the film mediocre at best, my criticism was much more harsh.

How about a real story here. Here we have Greta Gerwig in the guise of Frances who meanders through life having aspirations of being a professional dancer but doesn't really commit herself fully to making that happen. She even turns down an office job at her dance company when she didn't make the cut for the BIG Christmas production. So, instead of keeping a job at a dance company that at least keeps her "foot in the door" she goes off on an aimless vacation to France in order to impress her more prosperous friends. Even Frances' "conversations" are mindless. She makes outrageous statements to shock her friends and acquaintances only to retract them seconds later.

I could go on but in short this is a vanity movie for neophyte and wanna-be actors. Replete with show-biz nepotism; Mickey Sumner, Grace Gummer, and Charlotte D'Amboise are daughters of rock-star "Sting", Meryl Streep, and ballet super-star Jacques D'Amboise. Not to be outdone Greta Gerwig's own parents play her parents in the movie! There is little to recommend in watching this movie. Gerwig does have a certain ebullient charm and Mickey Sumner shows promise as Frances' friend. They both no doubt will see future roles. But the fault of this film rests with the poor directing and especially the bad writing. Like most Hollywood movies there is no real story here, just a string of gratuitous scenes by a director who at best has a lackluster track record.
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French New Wave tribute scores visually but its one-note protagonist and situations are less compelling
Turfseer12 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Noah Baumbach co-wrote 'Frances Ha' with his current significant other, Greta Gerwig, the actress who plays the title role. It's Baumbach's take on a 27 year old aspiring dancer/choreographer who just can't seem to get herself together. Slate Magazine's Dane Stevens describes Frances as "childlike and disorganized." Stephen Holden of The Times has an even more prescient descriptor, describing Frances as one who operates under a sense of "entitlement." The film is shot in black and white and it reminds me of the 1962 French New Wave flick, 'Cleo from 5 to 7'. While 'Frances' is not filmed in real time like 'Cleo', it has the same feel: expansive shots of the care-free, largely self-absorbed protagonist, who prances about, highlighted by one urban backdrop after another. Baumbach clearly wants us to link his film to the spirit of the French New Wave, as he employs the famed French film composer, Georges Delerue, to provide much of the film's soundtrack.

When we first meet Frances, she's living in a Brooklyn apartment with her best friend, Sophie, who recites 'The Story of Us'—a whimsical tale of the two young women engaging in a "world takeover". However, as we break into Act II, Frances feels betrayed, when Sophie announces she's moving to a new apartment share which Frances can't possibly afford (Frances is an intern at a small dance company).

Frances briefly resides with two younger guys, one of whom classifies her as "undateable". Frances often drinks too much and makes inappropriate comments in various social situations. Frances eventually travels to Sacramento to visit her parents and later, takes a particularly ill-advised trip to Paris, funded by a credit-card. All of this proves quite repetitious as Dana Stevens remarks in Slate: "There are too many scenes in a row that make the same point—Frances is a creative but lovable flake who's her own worst enemy." Just like in Cleo from 5 to 7, the protagonist's journey is not as important as allowing the viewer to take in the wonderful ambiance and atmosphere. Baumbach indeed is a virtuoso when it comes to highlighting Frances' myopia through visual (non-dialogue) scenes.

Frances finally ends up as an RA at summer dance camp at Vassar College where she runs into now-married Sophie, who's flown in with her straight-arrow husband, who's now working in Japan. Sophie hates being in Japan and is unhappy in her marriage. Perhaps here Baumbach is foreshadowing Frances' eventual triumph: the struggling artist trumps those who opt for more traditional pathways (while Sophie seemingly is Frances' social better, Baumbach makes it clear, that's not the way it ends up).

I can't help bring 'Cleo from 5 to 7' up again. Just like Frances, 'Cleo' goes from complete self-absorption to liberation. In Cleo's case, a sweet-talking soldier and an oncologists' positive diagnosis, bring her back to reality and happiness. In Frances' case, it's not really clear what got her to change her attitude after all the self-defeating, myopic behavior. By accepting the job at the dance company and then establishing her own clientèle of students (creating her own dance school), Frances suddenly finds redemption.

'Frances Ha' has some sharp performances, particularly Ms. Gerwig in the title role along with Mickey Sumner as Sophie. Mr. Baumbach's visual style and direction is a worthy throwback to the French New Wave era. Nonetheless, some may find the non-conformist Frances' machinations to be too one-note and grating throughout most of the film. Baumbach is more forgiving and suggests that Frances' late maturity is normal and part and parcel of normal young adult development.
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A fun examination of the human condition via a slice of Frances' life.
stancube5 September 2012
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig lead us on an expansive journey that takes place in the confines of several years in the life of a single character - Frances. They co-wrote the film and Gerwig is sublimely engaging as Frances, a woman who prefers to focus on the moments along life's path rather than any sort of destination to the path itself.

Baumbach takes those incredibly realistic and often uncomfortable moments, shapes them into black-and-white vignettes that are both immediate and personal, and then precisely combines those vignettes into this delicate and funny film. It's rounded off by an unbelievably talented supporting cast who make "Frances Ha" an all-around joy to watch.
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The best film which Woody Allen never made
jackasstrange12 March 2014
Frances Ha is a very good film. And It's almost indisputable that Frances Ha resembles Woody Allen oldest works. The satire against the so-called intellectuals, the satire of a - perhaps ridicule aspect of society, that is the obsession with organization and patronizing, and the fact that the character - the protagonist - is an allegory, each one of these aspects are present in Frances Ha. Of course, there is some originality on here. The black and white choice, the occasional 80s beat which pops out of nowhere and ends fitting perfectly the scene, the great acting by Greta Gerwig - all of these are aspects which makes Frances Ha an unique film. And the dialogs are nothing like in Woody's films - sure about that. There is some surreal dark- humor on them, and adds to the uniqueness of the film in general. Overall, very well written, acted and directed.

Certainly recommended. 8.5/10
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markrogle1 June 2013
I really really wanted to like Frances Ha. . . indie film, good critical reviews, black-and-white homage to Manhattan/Woody Allen, something different from the usual summer blockbuster movie fare. . .my wife and I left the theater feeling flat, however. Greta Gerwig does a fine job acting as Frances and portrays the malaise of young adults trying to find their way in life quite accurately, but. . .it's just not that funny, people. A comedy needs to have more laughs, and a drama needs to have more compelling characters and more action. I've not seen the TV series "Girls" which this is being compared to, but it does have the flat failed sitcom gestalt, the one that lasts half a season before cancellation. Caveat emptor, folks.
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An 86-minute insight into the life of a pretentious, shallow group of people
nico-hvi8 September 2013
I had high hopes for this movie, I really did. We ended up seeing it because Blue Jasmine wasn't showing anymore, which seemed like a natural choice since Frances Ha was being touted as a a'modern Woody Allen-movie' (which in itself is a stupid classification since many of Allen's movies are timeless, but whatever).

What I expected was a thoughtful display into the inner life of an interesting person dealing with existential dilemmas (who am I when I'm all alone? How do my friends define me? How can I decide on which values in life broaden rather than cheapen it?), but instead found a group of pretentious people talking past each other.

Seriously, I couldn't find a single honest conversation in this entire movie, which sort of ruins the whole emphasis on dialogue. By 'honest' conversation I mean the actual investment of feeling into the words coming out of the mouths of the people maintaining the conversation, a good example of the opposite is this:

"You're my best friend"


"I'm moving out"

"I can't get this ring off of my finger"

Which is more or less taken directly out of a scene on the subway in Frances Ha. People might say this movie is 'quirky', 'fun' and 'well-written', and it might have some trace of all those characteristics, but in the end (for me, anyway) none of that matters when there isn't a trace of honesty left - who would want to watch a shallow, uninteresting, self-centered person experience random stuff for 1 hour and 24 minutes?
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I don't get these people
zee6 April 2014
It's official. I hate this director's movies. I've been wondering why, and I have been wondering why I feel so angry about them, and it finally dawned on me: it's about class.

See, I grew up working class, not indulged, and I had work for a living starting at age 16. I understand the value of hard work, sure, but I also understand the necessity for it for people like me. When I and my relatives have problems, they are real problems: cancer, loss of job that may result in homelessness, bearing for years an awful boss with 40 IQ points less than us because we need the boring job, alcoholism and no money to go to tony recovery resorts, having to eat beans and rice not from some eating disorder/fad but because that's all we can afford, living with dental pain for five years because we can't afford basic dentistry (much less teeth bleaching) and the grinding, endless truth of being stuck in our class because the uberwealthy won't allow us to move from it, no matter how well we follow the rules of careful education, careful savings, and hard work. So when I see these movies by overly indulged people and about overly indulged people, I get so angry I see red.

I don't care about these people and their petty, self-invented "problems." I wish for them that they get hit by a truck and lose a leg or two and earn a real problem so they understand what BS this BS they make films about is. (not that such a thing would be a real problem for them like it would be for people of my class who can't afford good health care, but at least it wouldn't be more of this non-problem crap they get so whiny about in their whiny movies.) Movies like this make me wonder, and not for the first time, why there isn't a violent class revolution. Hey, we'd like just a year or two of experiencing these non-problem "problems," too. "Gee, I can't decide what upper middle class artsy thing to be after my trip to Paris. Gee, my parents don't love me perfectly in just the way I want to be loved." Yeahyeahyeah. Poor you.
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Lena Dunham and HBO Called...they want their show back
asc8522 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Not only is this a rip-off of the HBO's "Girls," it's not even a good one...and I'm not that much of a fan of "Girls." In fact, Adam Driver from "Girls" is also in this movie! But if you like that show, you might like this (although I didn't). If you despise "Girls," I can almost guarantee you won't like this movie. Unlikeable, spoiled characters throughout, with very little plot. Greta Gerwig is a disaster as Frances, and I think this is probably the last Noah Baumbach film I will be subjecting myself to. But because it was so critically revered, I thought I'd give it a shot.

The only good thing about this movie is that it inexplicably got permission to use David Bowie's "Modern Love" and Hot Chocolate's "Every 1's a Winner" on the soundtrack.
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Some were charmed; I wasn't
Bill Anderson3 July 2013
Maybe I wouldn't have hated it quite so much if I were female, in my late 20s, sharing New York apartments to save money, deliriously unrealistic in my career expectations, clueless about personal relationships, unwise with money, and unable to plan beyond the moment. But I'm none of those things and thus I did indeed hate this movie. I think the filmmakers were going for some sort of modern update of a French New Wave movie in which nothing happens and every conversation is banal, trivial, no more interesting than any everyday conversation you might overhear if you were a fly on the wall who actually cared about these people, though no fly in its right mind would. Well I certainly didn't, anyway. I know I was supposed to be charmed by the good-looking-in-a-normal-everyday-way main character played by Greta Gerwig, whom I have never noticed before and expect never to notice again, but I was completely uncharmed. In fact, the only effect her helpless, hopeless, needy clinging character had on me was to make me want to run from the theater, which later, after sticking with the movie to the end while nursing an ever-dwindling hope for a story, I actually wished I had done.

There's a show on HBO called "Girls," and I know only enough about it to know it's not something I'd ever want to see. I wish I'd known that much about the apparently similar FRANCES HA before I let myself get talked into paying money to be tortured.
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"Francis Ha" Is Nothing To Laugh About
Baumbach is the Bed, Bath, and Beyond of indie, his newest film resembling the tacky ten dollar pre-framed black and white photos of vague French "bohemian" cityscapes that you buy and hang in a dirty insurance office's bathroom to distract you from the smell and the crack in the wall. Films whose "bitter, angry characters" are stick-figure caricatures embodied by actors neither complex or talented enough to make their character's bitterness or anger anything deeper than a mere external affectation, directed by a clever hipster con artist hiding the heart of his arch conservatism.

Anyone who would hire Ben Stiller ("Greenberg") to play an embittered intellectual railing against the corporate mediocrity of modern life should be, at the very least, highly suspect. Gerwig now stands as the latest media-manufactured "it" girl, an unthreatening and perfectly insipid creature made-to-order for a dead and non-existent counterculture.

Still, Baumbach and his muse are very necessary these days to convince an already euthanized and brainwashed Generation ZZZ that their spiritual, moral, and political malaise is a livable, "charming" and tolerable one, so that they can really, really forgive themselves for not roaring back like a million untamed lions against the state-sponsored execution of their hearts, minds, and souls as previous generations once did, for better or worse. In that sense, Baumbach may become the most cherished of contemporary cinematic frauds, a directorial eunuch as safe and as impotent as the audiences who flock to the flattery of his films rather than by those individuals perceptive enough to be thoroughly repulsed by them.

And put aside those desperate comparisons to the French New Wave, or 70's Woody Allen. What you're seeing on screen is the rotting carcass of a nation's exhausted cinema .... pointless, empty triviality posturing as wry social observation, spewed from the wealthy pockets of a talentless hack with too many inside connections and Taschen art books piled up onto his conspicuously displayed Eames chair.
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Ignorance is arrogant bliss.
Genivieve DeClare20 November 2013
So, incidentally, Frances is an apprentice dancer for a professional dance company in NYC at the age of 27. This is absurdly out of touch with the realities of the dance world. If she were so fortunate to be associated with a professional dance company, she would have had to be focused and disciplined enough to endure a physical regimen that would have trumped all of this silly girl's petty indulgences. The movie is a fantasy about an ignorant and condescending, wannabe charmer who has no idea nor any interest in the art of dance or the daily struggles of anyone anywhere. Please, who cares what happens to this phony, self- indulgent poseur and her gang of narcissistic friends. No mention of the harsh realities that prevail outside her bubble world. A movie that inadvertently but perfectly indicts the superficial sensibilities of these spoiled children and the makers of this movie. Americans are pretty much reviled amongst much of Europe these days. Self-indulgent, destructive and oblivious certainly. Charming? In a word, no.
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20+ nitwit (deadbeat) survives her own bumbling ennui in NYC in an homage to W. Allen and French film
louisellarsen31 December 2013
Just saw "Frances Ha." Uh...why was that a movie at all? Depressing to see that much youth and beauty be that dull and boring. And the concept was not at all anything new. Which is what I found the most annoying aspect to it all. I saw Slackers back when I was one. I've seen every Woody Allen, made, I saw all french film back in the day's when they weren't vintage and liked King Of Hearts so much that I bought the soundtrack on vinyl when I was in elementary school.

So...I was pretty disgusted that the director took other filmmaker's ideas (with more originality and artistry) and tossed those into his "Frances Ha" soup and hoped it might pass as something new. I believe there is a word for this?....What is it?...Oh, yeah. "Derivative."

Frances Ha is derivative of a lot. And lacks unique wings of it's own. Sorry. It doesn't.

Main character was a 27 yr old nitwit w/out enough braincells to inflate the leaden balloon the narrative already was = a sad, pointless ramble about a kid who kind of gets her act together enough to complete something involving "real art skills" while shuffling papers at a dance studio with a diminishing degree of self loathing by the end. That was so amazing.

Audience was supposed to be charmed by her "nutty" approach to logic.

Director stole music soundtrack to King of Hearts (1960's) and played it over and over hoping the music's wacky charm would make his flick appear "more whimsical." Fail. On the plus side: You get to watch Meryl Streep's daughter say "Where the F___ are you going?" -- That was awesome!

Seriously. Blech. Very similar to "Girls" but sans humor or wit. At all. Not sure how that got made.

Gave it a 2 stars because I finished watching it.
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Atrocious - surprisingly so
davidm92325 November 2013
What a disappointment! Gee, I thought I had been a big admirer of Noah Baumbach. Butt this film might have utterly destroyed my faith in him. Nothing comes across as genuine. Scenes exist for no cogent reason. Is this a satire on Woody Allen?

The lead character is an unappealing bore. She is unlike any 20-something I have ever known in New York. As written, she appears to been mentally unbalanced and without charm. In what world is she a dancer? After 15 minutes I'm praying for her to shut-up. I am a native Ne Yorker, and I don't get the characters at all. I'm sorry for an uncharacteristic hostile review but this is a real letdown. Sorry Noah and Adam, but I give this a 1.
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Consistency mildly irritating.
Sergeant_Tibbs16 November 2013
A festival favourite last year, Frances Ha quickly earned a reputation for being Noah Baumbach's best yet and feeling like Wes Anderson plus Woody Allen. With those two filmmakers in mind, I couldn't have been more excited for it. I quite like Baumbach too, he's a welcome addition to the writing team with Wes Anderson's films, The Squid and The Whale is a great film and while Greenberg is only good, Greta Gerwig was a total highlight. He has an interesting quiet sense of drama that I can sometimes really connect to. However, Frances Ha was incredibly disappointing. Consistently mildly irritating is the phrase I'd use. It's far too in the middle, rarely approaching dramatic extremities. I didn't connect or empathise with Frances as she had very little at stake and little to do in general.

It's a film that thinks its more clever than it is. I didn't laugh once. While the dry jokes may be funny on paper, the deliveries never clicked and it's too quirky for its own good. Unfortunately the acting and cinematography are just too amateuristic. It feels more like a student film than anything from a professional. Maybe it's the choppy editing that killed it most with strange montages that don't have a sense of time of place resulting in it feeling disorientating. But then, these aspect give it a naive impish charm much like the protagonist, however it's just too self-aware for me. The thing about Frances Ha is that it definitely comes from a very genuine place. This isn't forced twee and that stops it from being cringeworthy, but that doesn't work for everyone.

I had to rewatch The Royal Tenenbaums straight after to make sure my sense of quirky humour was still in tact and in doing so, I realized what Frances Ha was lacking (as well as appreciating Tenenbaums more than ever). It lacks tragedy. What makes all Wes Anderson films work is the deep rooted emotion behind its quirkiness. Anderson puts them in this world with their behaviour as a way of dealing with, for example, a great loss. Frances has none of this. She just glides through life and it isn't endearing behaviour. Maybe if she had something, it would be a better film, but this film will only strike a chord with few. Even so, like Baumbach's other films, I'll admit it has a great soundtrack. I discovered some of my favourite songs from Greenberg and Squid, maybe I'll revisit this soundtrack too.

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An engaging story of when two college friends begin to grow in different directions.
bobdqo30 September 2012
I loved this movie. It was touching movie dealing with trying to become a more responsible adult without losing your sense of who you are. It also deals well with the importance of meaningful relationships in our lives. What Woody Allen did in his homage to Manhattan in the 20th century, Noah Baumbach does for Brooklyn in the 21st Century. Like Manhattan did trying to capture the spirit of New York City in the 1970s, Frances Ha captures the angst of this period focusing on singles living in Brooklyn. The engaging character of Frances also draws comparisons to Annie Hall. There are some elements in the film that brought back memories of the film Stranger than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch but this film comes across as funnier and more engaging.
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Gratuitously self aware homage to self
leiberharley74824 December 2013
This movie is a paen to self absorption reflected back through film. Basically a series of disconnected character sketches masquerading as a "film".

First you have the character of place. Brooklyn. Black and white...grey..rundown...but artistically dressed in modern day nuance of hipster cool. ( Note to director..."only show certain parts of neighborhood" notes were obvious. )

Frances and gf. Cliché.

GF: millions of them of them..cell phone obsessed, head down, people..waiting..for someone or something ( job, husband, bf family,)give them meaning.

Frances: Goof ball..kind of like modern day Lucy. Harmless. NYC "poor".

Men: losers, losers with parents money, losers who think they are artists on the verge of discovery, losers who drink too much..

Women: reduced to "one night stand" characters...

Waste of 90 minutes...
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Not a comedy in any way
xzcgb26 July 2013
Allegedly i.e. according to the hype on the poster outside the cinema, this film is about comedy, laughs ,and a rite-of-passge. In my opinion, this is a film about superficiality and denial. (It's maybe even IN denial).

I guessed, from having seen The Squid and the Whale (2005) that this new film by the same director would probably be a 'gentle' affair. However, while the former had some tension, and some tension-bursting scenes, Frances Ha, in contrast, is an hour and a half (or so) of monotony.

Some of the time it comes across like an indulgent Dogme film advertising bit after bit of boring life packed with meaningless characters; some of the time it's like a Woody Allen film from the seventies that never takes off; there's one scene in a college party where the film almost descends into farce, and i so hoped it would just elevate itself in any way, but it didn't and i was disappointed.

Clearly a low budget movie that tries hard to avoid clichés and yet is choc-a-bloc full of them: the dopy effete score (apart from the odd hit from the 70's), the dopy superficial friendships, weak attempts at humour.Sorry, but it's not a comedy, it's a drama with some whimsical but everyday people. I should have guessed!!! The lead character is beautiful, kooky, but annoying.
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