Frances Ha is a witty apparently feather-light vehicle for co-writer and star Greta Gerwig (Baghead, Damsels in Distress). Initially this seems like another in her growing line of trademark, near typecast, kooky feisty twenty-something dreamer characters trying to make it in New York.
But Mumblecore grows up in this sensitive portrait of an ordinary person struggling in a tough world to pay her rent in the least humiliating manner she can manage. Told with a lightness of touch which belies its sobering heart, we watch as Gerwig’s dream career as a dancer slips from her grasp while she waits on tables and wonders what on earth to do next. Is her life over before it has even had a chance to begin?
Easily Noah Baumbach’s most effective and artistically successful film since The Squid and the Whale, it’s a small, perfectly formed and very enjoyable channelling of the French New Wave and 70s Woody Allen. Baumbach fashions a gentle small film whose substance sneaks up, catching its audience almost unaware under a welter of chutzpah, gags and youthful vigour.