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Greta’s New Wave: Frances Ha

Greta's New Wave: Frances Ha

Noah Baumbach, who made an impressive directorial debut with
The Squid and the Whale, continues to
blaze his own trail with an effervescent little film called Frances Ha, which he wrote with its
star, Greta Gerwig. A tribute to the spirit of French New Wave cinema, it’s
shot in black & white and scored by the music of Georges Delerue, a lovely
homage in itself—but Baumbach never positions form over content, and there
isn’t an ounce of pretension here.

Indie darling
Gerwig has a great deal to do with the picture’s success: she’s disarmingly
likable, even though her character isn’t terribly bright or focused. Frances is
a young woman trying to get along in New York City, where things are tough if
you don’t have a solid job and a decent income—not to mention a committed
relationship. For aspiring dancer Frances, the routine of her existence is
shaken up when her best pal and roommate (Mickey Sumner) decides to move out
with her boyfriend. They remain friends, but the easy rhythm of their relationship
has been disrupted.

At this
point, Frances’ seemingly simple, spontaneous life goes adrift. She can’t seem
to get her act together, whether it’s finding the right place to live or
deciding on the right career path. Even an unexpected trip to Paris doesn’t
fulfill its romantic promise. It sounds rather trivial and lightweight, but Baumbach
and his cast—especially Gerwig—embody a youthful spirit that makes it all work.

Best of all, Frances Ha pays off with a wonderful
punchline, the kind of finale that leaves the audience with a smile… a
seemingly simple achievement that too few films can claim. Nicely done!



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snacks and papaya. yes

flava flave is disapointed in you you fat bit ch.

mo dive slacks

kicking and screaming you taco. kicking and screaming. how dare ya


Love Greta Gerwig, both in the parts she plays and the person.

Bruno Pereira

Don't really get the hype around this one, especially cause we've all seen this done a lot better so many times. I saw it in Lisbon in a film festival some weeks ago and left the theater dissapointed , cause it tries to be a "À bout de souffle" fot the hipster generation (minus the innovation and actual creativity) and it fails miserably. It feels forced, calculated, right from the start, and apart from a good couple of scenes ( like the ending ), this is a styless, shallow movie trying to be hip. That's what happens when people try to shove "charm" and "quirky" right down the audience's throat. Baumbach has proved that he can do a lot better than this.

Jim Reinecke

How dare you fall short of perfection, Leonard? Wow, I guess that I'll just have to stop reading your blog and never again purchase an edition of your Movie Guide(s) since you actually make a mistake occasionally. However I do promise your six critics below that I will be first in line to buy a ticket when they have their game of 3-on-3 basketball on water. I do so admire people that are error-free and virtual messiahs!

Alan B

If there's one line – just one – that needs to be correct, it's the first one.


Kicking and Screaming (1995) is a cult classic? That's news to me and I followed movies fanatically back then.


That really is sad. I stopped reading the article after that sentence. There was no need to take his word seriously anymore at that point.


Whoa! I thought Leonard Maltin knew at least a little bit about film. And sort of figured his editors might, too. Baumbach's debut was The Squid and the Whale? Whoooooooa! He directed THREE films before Squid, including a little cult classic called Kicking and Screaming.

Fire that bag of vanilla.


This is ridiculous. The Squid and the Whale is his FOURTH feature film.



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