Netflix Comedy About Growing Up Is Painfully Relatable

By Nikola Pajtic | Published

frances ha

Anyone who has ever felt lost in their twenties must see Frances Ha. The filmmaking dream team of Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig have been making films even before the blockbuster slapstick Barbie. This is one of the early collaborations and is a true indie gem.

Frances Hallard

frances ha

Greta Gerwig portrays the titular character, Frances Hallard, a 27-year-old professional ballerina and dancer trying to find herself in the chaotic, raw world of New York City. We follow her through her journey as her life crumbles and rebuilds, making odd connections, and losing love and friendships while searching for her place in adulthood. 

At the start of the film Frances’ world is turned upside down. A breakup with her boyfriend set things in motion, like a domino effect. She is evicted from an apartment she shared with her best friend Sophie, an editor at a prominent publishing company, and her dream career of a ballerina doesn’t seem to happen. 

The Film

frances ha

The entire film is shot in black and white. You won’t find anything flashy in the film except for raw emotions as we are drawn to sympathize with our protagonist.

At times, you will feel that the hero of Frances Ha is in fact a villain in her own story. Her selfishness, naivety, and questionable decisions might make you hate her, but that is all part of her personal growth. 

This is not a biographical film, though it might feel at times. It’s an indie dramedy reminiscent of Manhattan, and if you get past the initial scenery, you will enjoy the witty humor, interesting dialogues, and a terribly truthful monologue from Frances.

Watching Frances Ha you will feel lost just like the star character. You will want to hug her and everyone else who is in the same situation as she is after the film ends. While it mimics some Woody Allen-esque protagonists, scenes, and dialogue choices, this is a unique accomplishment by two lovers who will ultimately become one of the most praised filmmaking couples. 

Gerwig’s Performance

Thanks to Greta Gerwig’s masterful performance I fell in love with her character in Frances Ha despite all her flaws. She has shown us that it is okay to be awkward, different, and engulfed in flames of self-doubt. 

The comedic wit and perfect timing by Greta are just some of the aspects of why you will fall in love with the film. Despite all the drama behind Frances, her decisions will at times make you laugh your heart out.

The Cast

frances ha

The dialogue-rich Frances Ha features some amusing characters. In addition to Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver plays Lev Shapiro, while Michael Zegen is Benji, Frances’ love interest. Mickey Sumner is Frances’ best friend Sophie, and each of these characters helps realize how lost Frances really is. 

The Production

Filming locations included New York City, Sacramento, Paris, and Vassar College, The film was shot in the style of French New Wave cinema, with a small camera and tools that a student filmmaker would have access to, according to Baumbach and Gerwig’s words. 

A Critical Darling

frances ha

Frances Ha premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2012, and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film had a limited release in the United States on May 17, 2013.

Frances Ha received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 93 percent approval rating. Greta Gerwig received a Golden Globe award nomination in the category of Best Actress – Comedy or Musical. 

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Frances Ha deserves all the love it can get thanks to the relatable characters, and because it is okay to be a work in progress.