FRANCES HA (R)

Frances Ha (R)

 

Movie Info

Rating: * * * 

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen.

Director: Noah Baumbach.

Screenwriters: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig.

Producers: Noel Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira.

An IFC Films studios release. Running time: 86 minutes. Vulgar language, sexual situations. In Miami-Dade: Coral Gables Art Cinema, South Beach.


rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com

Noah Baumbach’s playful, effervescent comedy Frances Ha is the story of a young woman’s quest to find an apartment in New York. That’s an arduous task for most ordinary, gainfully employed people. But Frances (Greta Gerwig) is neither ordinary nor employed. She’s a relentless optimist who always believes success is just around the corner, even though she’s an apprentice for a dance company that refuses to hire her full time and her longtime roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner, daughter of Sting) announces she’s moving out of their Brooklyn apartment to live with her boyfriend.

“We’re like a lesbian couple that doesn’t have sex anymore,” Frances says, hoping her best friend won’t abandon her. But both women are edging on 30, and Frances is still behaving like a young twentysomething, taking life one day at a time, living spontaneously in the moment without giving much thought to the future.

Frances Ha, which Baumbach co-wrote with Gerwig (his real-life girlfriend), was shot in glorious black and white and edited with the jumpy rhythms and unexplained time lapses of the French New Wave (one wonderful scene, in which Frances runs and dances through the streets of New York to the tune of David Bowie’s Modern Love, feels like a direct shout-out to the romp through the museum of Godard’s Band of Outsiders). Instead of serving as a distraction, the filmmaking style plays off Frances’ indefatigable spirit, helping us understand how this sometimes-hapless young woman, who in one scene offers to pay for her date’s dinner but then finds out the restaurant doesn’t take debit cards, refuses to let life get her down.

For a spell, Frances becomes roommates with two hip downtown artists, one of them played by Adam Driver (HBO’s Girls), which helps underscore the film’s thematic similarities to that show — the coming-of-age of women who haven’t yet fully embarked on their adulthood. But the shared details are only superficial: When Frances decides to fly to Paris for a weekend (just two days, including travel time) and ends up spending the entire time by herself, you realize just how arrested the development of this charming, gawky young woman is. And even as her options dwindle and life continues to throw her curve balls, Frances refuses to give up. The film’s closing shot, which explains the title of the movie, is the triumphant ending to a modern fairy tale about a girl whose golden heart refuses to tarnish.

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Magic in the Moonlight’:</span> Colin Firth is a stage magician trying to disprove the abilities of an acclaimed psychic (Emma Stone).

    Magic in the Moonlight (PG-13)

    The inherent problem in cranking out a movie (sometimes two!) every year, as Woody Allen has been doing for the last 34 years, is that some of them are inevitably going to be dogs. Does someone have a gun to the filmmaker’s head that forces him to proceed with half-baked, joyless comedies such as Magic in the Moonlight instead of tossing bad ideas out and starting fresh? This is, at best, a 20-minute TV episode extended to feature length, and the stretch marks show. Boy, do they show. That’s practically all you can see, really.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Guardians of the Galaxy’:</span> Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt form an unlikely team of space-jockey superheroes.

    Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

    Watching the zippy, ebullient Guardians of the Galaxy, you wonder “Why can’t all comic-book movies be this much fun?”

  •  
Dad (Ethan Hawke, right) plays around with his son (Ellar Coltrane) in a scene from “Boyhood.”

    Boyhood (R)

    Contrary to most dramas, which tend to dwell on traumatic or seismic events, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood argues that life is a compilation of small, everyday moments, an accumulation of the feelings and thoughts and emotions we start to gather from the time we are children. Shot over the span of 12 years, with the cast getting together for a few days annually to shoot some scenes, the movie charts the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the ages of 5 to 18. Mason has an older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and he has two loving parents, Mom (Patricia Arquette) and Dad (Ethan Hawke), who are divorced and live apart. Their relationship can be contentious at times, but they both care deeply for their kids.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category