“It’s after three. I can drink.”
The story of a young adult trying to find their purpose in life is an age-old fable that is used in a lot of films (Boyhood, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting). At least with Frances Ha, the characters are very witty and original enough to spin a new twist on an overdone premise. These traits also make the film play out as a comedy and were often aspects I enjoyed laughing towards, as the character of Frances is quite the charming entertainer. Even if the jokes are often at the expense of Frances’ own miserably skewed life, which does follow a predictable path like all other films like it, Frances Ha has enough going for it that I have no qualms in recommending you see it.
Which are all thanks to the performance of Frances by Greta Gerwig who also co-wrote the script alongside director Noah Baumbach. Her character almost feels like an extension or exaggerated version of herself and it was clear that this role was not only incredibly comfortable for her but one that she clearly enjoyed playing. I got the sense that this could very well be a visual portrayal of how Greta Gerwig’s own young adult life was at that same stage as Frances because her performance felt that believable and real to me. The character to actor combination was a perfect match and without her performance, the film wouldn’t hold up as well as it did.
The best part, however, comes from the humor and wit that are placed within the story. Aside from the punchlines of jokes, I was a fan that the style of comedy lent itself to an observational tone. It was almost akin to that of a Seinfeld and even Woody Allen-esque because often moments in this film held jokes that were just about nothing important to the story and were witty remarks about a tiny detail. In fact, this whole film felt like one giant filler for time that is set up for laughs about small things in life and not on aspects of the bigger picture. This also smartly reflects the whole theme around Frances’s life as a young adult who really has no ambition to do anything meaningful in life because she’s afraid and doesn’t have much clue on what to do as an adult. So instead, she just meanders on peacefully, drifting from day to day and makes witty remarks much ado about nothing. And it worked for me.
Frances Ha isn’t anything amazing but that’s also sort of the point it’s trying to go for. This doesn’t make it flawless because it’s intended to have flaws, but it does make me respect its purpose a lot more. Yes, it’s another one those coming of age films but at least the focus is on a character that’s much older and is in her late twenties, compared to just confused teenagers that harbor a lot of angst. And for the most part, I also found it fairly humorous which is an aspect that a lot of other mainstream comedies fail to even come close to *cough* The Boss *cough* Bad Moms *cough*. I don’t have much else to add except that Frances Ha is out on Netflix in both Australia and the United States, so I recommend you give it a watch now that it’s easily accessible. See it.