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Before We Saw the Trailer, We Thought: Black and white gem “Frances Ha,” the latest feature from Noah Baumbach, appeared on our radars to much surprise last July just ahead of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Shot quietly, without any mention of director and co-writer Baumbach’s involvement, “Frances Ha” seems to promise unexpected delight in every respect. A story that could resonate with many twentysomething, big-dreaming New Yorkers, “Frances Ha” follows a girl who’s just trying to figure it all out. Star and co-writer Greta Gerwig is a dancer who hardly dances, a Brooklynite without an actual apartment, and a 27-year-old who’s still lost in finding independence and success. After its festival run at Telluride and TIFF the film recieved positive reviews, both for Gerwig’s performance — which many praised as her best yet — and Baumbach’s energetic rhythm unseen in his previous work.
And now? While the film seems to ride the fine line between cliched and refreshingly innovative with a story we know all too well, the lively trailer attempts to veer closer to the latter. Gerwig’s endearing charm and nonchalance appear to be a promising fit for the indecisive but optimistic Frances, who looks distraught in dance class but prances along the street with vivacious charisma. The paring of the trailer’s cheery song– Bowie’s “Modern Love” — and Frances’ lack of fiery ambition — when asked what she does she responds “It’s hard to explain because I don’t really do it,” giving a shrug of indifference — at first feels contradictory, yet illustrates Frances perfectly. “Frances Ha” seems to endorse the typical hipster irony of the lost-but-ambitious-soul archetype, but leaves us itching to see what Baumbach does with it. If anything we’re drawn in with Frances’ multiple pirouettes along the sidewalk, the rich black and white, and feel-good music that offer a pleasant surprise to a potentially overdone tale.
“Frances Ha” will have a limited released by IFC Films on May 17th. Check out the trailer below.