Frances Ha – Review ★★★★


Greta Gerwig is probably at the heart of every mumblecore film you can think of, working with directors like Joe Swanberg on ‘Hannah Takes the Stairs’ and ‘Nights and Weekends’ to Noah Baumbach on ‘Greenberg’, whom she now co-writes with on Frances Ha.

Her style is one you can either love or hate; a quirky twentysomething in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. She’s clumsy and hopelessly awkward ‘I can’t account for my own bruises’ and yet elegant, charming and funny.

She plays Frances, a dancer living in New York with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) ‘the same person – but with different hair’. But while Sophie has a good job and a boyfriend, Frances still brands herself ‘undateable’ and is struggling to keep afloat. Through parties, late night movies and impromptu trips to Paris, Frances tries to figure out her place in the world.

Watching Frances Ha is a bit like watching Lena Dunham’s Girls in black and white. Aside from the fact that it stars Girls star Adam Driver, Frances Ha makes the same astute observations about the millennial generation while showing real female friendships and relationships.

Filming in black and white is less risky than it used to be, and recent films like Much Ado About Nothing, A Field in England and The Artist prove there’s no adverse effect at the box office. Frances Ha is as beautifully shot as Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ and at times becomes a love letter to New York, showing its parks and boulevards and cutesy apartments, but its also a tribute to the French New Wave, and has a charming soundtrack by Georges Delerue.

This is a sweet, smart and fun film about friendship and the perils of adulthood. Gerwig’s charisma and the film’s youthful spirit will make you wish you were part of the gang.

Noah and Greta are reportedly an item now (if anyone was interested) so with any luck, this new partnership will lead to lots more mumblecore gems.

Frances Ha is released on July 26th. Watch the trailer below.

Flossie Topping is the former Editor-in-Chief of Critics Associated (2013-2015). She has an MA in Film Theory and an MA in Online Journalism. She has written for Screen International, Grolsch Film Works, Universal Film Magazine, The London Film Review, Best for Film, Next Projection, Metropolitan, Don't Panic and The Ealing Gazette.