197. Frances Ha

★★★½

I tried to watch The Meyerowitz Stories on Netflix last night. They didn’t come out until today, but I was hoping that they’d be available to an East Coast audience at 12 am, and that me somehow on the West Coast could gain access at that time. I couldn’t. So, I watched what I personally consider to be the next best thing to watching a Noah Baumbach movie about a dysfunctional New York family: a Baumbach movie about a dysfunctional New York girl!

Frances Ha! Is the first movie that made me aware of Noah Baumbach as a person. It wasn’t the first movie to make me aware of Greta Gerwig, but it was the first to make me fall in love with her. I firmly believe Gerwig is the Diane Keaton of our generation, intelligent, well-spoken but whimsical and free-wheeling. She might win an Oscar one day but she honestly doesn’t look like it’s a thing she’s overly preoccupied with. Gerwig is just focusing on making pictures that speak to her as an artist, what’s not to love?

But onto Frances Ha! This film encapsulates the vibe of being a big city millennial more than any other film I’ve ever watched. The characters aren’t lost or fearful of their future, but its clear that they put too much emphasis into short-sighted plans that have no real turnaround value. Like Adam Driver’s character, living in a rich kid apartment with a roommate who knows someone who writes or produces at SNL. It feels unifying because rich or poor, every millennial is just very bored at heart.
But Gerwig is the heart of this film, watching her frolic in the streets to David Bowie music, or struggle with whether to withdraw a certain amount of money from the ATM. She jumps into every stray life opportunity with full force, fully confident in herself but completely unaware that she might need to be less confident about things. But even through doing nothing, with really no major centralized plot besides “life happens,” Frances and her crew evolve and take form throughout the movie, voyaging on life experiences without knowing where they’re ever going to arrive. It’s a bohemian ode wrapped up in vintage black and white, and truly one of Bachman’s best.

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