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Saturday, October 6, 2012

FRANCES HA

By D.E.Levine

A NYFF50 Selection

This film is engaging and funny.  Co-written by director Noah Baumbach and actress Greta Gerwig, Frances is a late twenties female whose life is currently a train wreck.

A klutz who lives surrounded by mess and chaos, Frances yearns to be a choregrapher.  If this sounds like it's an unrealistic dream, that's not the case.    It's simply that Frances is unfocused and is still in her "moth" stage although she's definitely aspiring and working toward becoming a butterfly.

Shot in Brooklyn in black and white, the visual effect is stunning.   The way its shot is suitable to the story and the action.

The film and characters are funny.  While there aren't any major plot turns, it's really the minutiae of daily life that draws us into the story.

With all her flaws, we don't find outselves adopting a condescending attitude toward Frances.  Instead, we're actually rooting for her.  We want to see her grow up and achieve.  She's taking tentative baby steps to reach her goal and we're on her side.

Frances herself isn't really sure of what she wants and the film doesn't tell us where it's going until it actually gets there.  Then we have "Ah-haa" moments.

Since she co-wrote the film, we have to assume that the part was tailor-made for Gerwig's abilities and she does give an admirable performance.

This is a film that leaves the viewer with a smile on their face when it's over.