Frances Ha | Chicago Reader

Frances Ha

Rated R 86 minutes 2013

Comparable to Woody Allen's imitations of Bergman and Fellini, this black-and-white comedy by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg) is basically an extended homage to early-60s French New Wave films. Greta Gerwig, who cowrote the script with Baumbach, plays a sprightly apprentice for a ballet company who drifts from one apartment to another, looking unsuccessfully for love. The dialogue and editing are zippy and generally charming, combining with the tart observations of twentysomething culture to create a nice frisson. (This may be the least acrid movie Baumbach has ever made, despite its underlying theme that growing up means learning to accept chronic disappointment.) Yet most of the energizing formal ideas are taken from other movies; the creative nadir may be when Baumbach uses Georges Delerue's iconic theme from Jules and Jim as a shortcut to pathos.

Film Credits

Director: Noah Baumbach

Producer: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Lila Yacoub, Rodrigo Teixeira, Fernando Loureiro and Lourenco Sant'Anna

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegan, Patrick Heusinger, Michael Esper, Maya Kazan and Justine Lupe

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Frances Ha

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