‘Frances Ha’ an undetected gem

July 7, 2014 Review Print Print
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Twenty-something-year-olds struggling with income and aspiring to become professional artists will appreciate the comedy “Frances Ha” — unless they’re not into black-and-white movies.

Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) is surrounded by people her age who have their lives figured out. Her friends are financially well off, live in luxurious apartments and either have, or soon will settle into, their careers.

Frances, on the other hand, has difficulty affording rent, and doubts her talent and career path.

Compared to her colleagues, Frances is stuck. Everyone she knows is ahead of her, living somewhat successful lives.

When Frances’ relationship with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) ends, she panics. Fearful of advancing forward, Frances progresses backwards.The unfamiliar terrain the future suggests frightens Frances.

To defeat these fears, she must avoid returning to the past and embrace the forthcoming events of the future.

A funny thing about this movie is, it’s a romance. Frances loses the girl, Sophie, and spends the rest of the movie trying to win her back.

Directed by Noah Baumbach (“Greenberg”), the movie creates a New York City environment resembling Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

With few close ups, the entire movie is shot primarily with wide-angle lenses. In a time where everything is shot handheld or plagued with an absurd amount of cuts, the filmmaking techniques aren’t new, but they are refreshing.

Greta Gerwig is a divine knockout. Attractive, hilarious and talented are understatements — she makes Jennifer Lawrence look like Chewbacca. Gerwig is an undetected gem brimming with silliness and thick charm.

While the target audience is spoiled kids in their mid-20s to early 30s, this comedy shows how normal it is to feel inadequate and the difficulty of abandoning comfort zones. And Gerwig dances to David Bowie’s “Modern Love” — who wouldn’t enjoy that?

And if “Frances Ha” sounds appealing, watch Arcade Fire’s live music video of “Afterlife.” It’s directed by Spike Jonze (“Her”) and has Gerwig submitting to the power of dance. It’s an hour and a half shorter than “Frances Ha” and in color.

Movie rating: B+

Video rating: A+

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