Entertainment :: Movies

Frances Ha

by Jake Mulligan
Contributor
Monday Nov 25, 2013
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"Frances Ha" does more in its 80-something minutes than most would be able to do in twice that time. Noah Baumbach’s picture features an adorably insecure Greta Gerwig as Francis, a 27-year-old New Yorker, desperately clinging to an apprenticeship she claimed many years ago after graduation, delaying the onset of "real life" for as long as humanely possible. The picture follows her from apartment to apartment, dramatizing her infectious joy for life, and the conflicts and abandonments that threaten it. "Frances" tries to unpack a lot in its short running time: from the way platonic relationships can stand-in in the void of romantic ones to the way the arts are now primarily an occupation afforded to the rich. It’s all scripted with a screwball deftness and filmed with an improvisatory liveliness that recalls the best films of the French New Wave. I love this movie.

It’s all scripted with a screwball deftness and filmed with an improvisatory liveliness that recalls the best films of the French New Wave. I love this movie.

Clearly Criterion does as well, because they’ve packed this home release with tons of worthwhile extra features: there’s a 15-minute conversation about style and aesthetics between Noah Baumbach and fellow director Peter Bogdanovich, as well as an equally long conversation about acting out themes between Greta Gerwig and actress/director Sarah Polley. Finally, there’s a very interesting discussion (for movie nerds) included, bringing together Baumbach, his director of photography, and the film’s colorist. They discuss the look of the picture, and how it was influenced/worked on by the late great cinematographer Harris Savides. ("Frances" is one of many films released recently dedicated to Savides’ memory, along with "Her" and "The Bling Ring.") That look, somehow both meticulously composed and rough-and-tumble, reveals new subtleties every time I see the picture.

"Frances Ha"
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Criterion.com
$39.95

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