Frances Ha (2013)

Photo Credit : Frances Ha / IFC Films
Directed by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig stars as the title role of an aspiring dancer in New York City. With stars in her eyes over a longtime friendship with Sophie, Halladay floats through life optimistically waiting for its series of events to unfold for her enthusiastic pleasure.

As Halladay remarks numerous times, she and Sophie are "the same person with different hair".
When she says this to prospective roommates and friends, she almost does so with a gleaming anticipation that they will agree with her knowing that they are friend-mates for life. They are meant to share this kinship for all time. After-all, what her best friend thinks, feels and how they connect so in sync, is all that "Ha" considers. That is until she is summoned by life's curveballs. Unexpectedly (isn't it always?), Sophie moves out to start a new life in another part of the big apple with another roommate Lisa. Ha swivels around from roommate to roommate making friends easily. By day, she would like to be promoted as an official member of her dance company. By night, she celebrates tax returns and running from ATM to ATM trying to cash it all in, or attaching herself to the hip of roommates' girlfriends.

Gerwig is, by all means, adorable, and up until viewing Cate Blanchett's performance in Blue Jasmine, she was truly my number one pick for Best Actress in the Oscar race of 2013. Her performance isn't entirely comedic as it's a mix of buoyant and laid-back. Similar to other female-led films (such as Black Swan or Blue is the Warmest Color), Gerwig is the headmaster of practically every scene. This could prove (should I say has proven) to be quite boring for many audiences because the story follows her character and isn't amplified with heavy-hearted twists. I found this to be quite enjoyable, and Gerwig's natural qualities of this observational comedy delivers. In terms of a particular moment standing out, it was hard to pick. It's really the entire movie that manages to keep butting into my memory and I'm reminded of how light-hearted and delighted I felt by her performance.

One could say that the movie is about nothing. It doesn't give us an exact life-map showing Ha actively pursuing anything in particular. A lot of critics have commented that the overall tone is similar to Lena Dunham's show "Girls" on HBO. To be totally honest, I don't give two cents about it and have never ever been interested enough to watch. I guess in the context of a film about my generation, Frances Ha romantically explores how twenty-somethings lets life figure us out.

Unlike previous generations where sons and daughters were bred from farmers, war heroes and baby boomers, we might be the "freest" generation to figure where we are going with our own compass made up of our own ambitions and pursuits. Many are unhurried to deal with life's demands. In the way of choosing a "real job" instead of pursuing her artistic passion, or settling down with someone instead of just being (our own person or with someone else), we're quite casual in discovering "what it means to be an adult".

When I walk from class to class on my college campus, I'm usually struck by the lack of connection anyone attempts to make with each other these days. Here and there are sprinkles of conversation with people but mostly we're hustling to get by, or getting by to hustle somewhere else.

If experienced in real time some of the most heartwarming moments I've had passed by in a flinch but remain memorable to me. Yet there's something unruly optimistic and upbeat about it all instead of sad or tragic. Life is all of these fleeting moments that you may be aware of by catching it in your view or letting it slip by life being life, very important, fast-moving, and full of priorities. Us whippersnappers are wholeheartedly casual; even the ones surviving on Redbulls and gallons of coffee, or are barely making it through exams and holding down a job. We're all getting by with various people and experiences that take us from one place to another. We manage and balance. We're all just coming into own.

That's life. That's me. That's Frances Ha and it didn't disappoint.
Rating: ★★★
Have you seen Frances Ha? What do you think?

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