Sure, sure, sure, Lena Dunham is great. The “voice of our generation”, “it’s like looking in a mirror”, “she totally gets me” all that jazz. And while I am a GIRLS fan, as the series progresses, I feel less and less like me, myself, and I (a 26 year old scatter-brain) are being represented by the characters.
I was beginning to think the silver screen was losing its touch with reality, that it didn’t understand who the young woman trying to find her way through this mess called life really was. And then I saw Noah Baumbach’s, Frances Ha.
The actress who plays Frances, Greta Gerwig, is seriously the bomb diggity. I had seen her in No Strings Attached and Greenberg and thought “This chick has some serious acting chops”. THEN I saw her in Damsels in Distress, which is one of the quirkiest and funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Gerwig, who played a more progressive, eccentric, modern-day Emily Post, was truly hilarious. I was LOL-ing throughout the entirety of the film.
And then, over my recent Christmas Break, I finally saw Frances Ha. It had screened at TIFF in 2012, but I wasn’t able to get tickets. As I watched the film, my opinion that Greta Gerwig is the reigning young actress of today was enforced scene after scene, guffaw after guffaw. Actually the entire cast was wonderful : Adam Driver (hummenahummena), Mickey Summer, Michael Zegen, and Grace Gummer, hats off to you all.
The film follows Frances through a fairly uncertain time in her life. She’s having trouble nailing down her living quarters, her working life, her love life, her friendships, and her dream to become a professional dancer in the NYC dance troupe she is a part of. As I watched the film I sympathized deeply with the trials and tribulations of her life, as well as her attempts at undying optimism. All the quirky shit she did reminded me of someone I knew, but who? It wasn’t until finishing the film that I realized: Oh. Em. Gee. I, am Frances Ha. And folks, I’m not the only one who agrees. I’ve had friends, unsolicited, say to me, “Andy! Have you seen Frances Ha? Oh you’ll love it. And OMG, you’re just like her!!!”. This gives me mixed feelings. I take it 2 parts as a compliment, as I thought Frances was very endearing and real (I use this word, real, with sincerity), but I also took it 1 part as a slight dig, as Frances is a bit of a 20-something mess.
I’ve watched the film a few times, but I watched it again more recently, and this time took notes and indulged in some deep self-reflection…
Ways in which I am like Frances
- I often break into random jigs/song
- I wear giant plaid shirts around the house
- I tend to stay up later than everyone else when watching tv/movies/nights out (notorious for getting home at a fairly reasonable hour, but then staying up until a terribly unreasonable one)
- I have sly eyes (shifty eyes some might say)
- I often say, “I feel bad”, in fact I say it all the time
- I always use “I’m tired” as an excuse for inexplicable reasons of avoidance
- My living situation is incredibly precarious
- I make big, exciting plans and grand proclamations with my friends (especially after a glass of wine)
- I’m totally the “I can’t afford ” girl (the best kind, and least annoying type of girl..)
- Tax rebates REALLLLY excite me (I feel like Robin Hood, giving the money back to…well, me)
- I apologize for things that don’t require apology
- I can’t account for my bruises. Each contusion, a forgotten/mysterious memory.
- I do so many things that make me “undateable”, “Undateable Andy” (womp womp)
- If I am in a room with a mirror, I may find opportunities to glance
- My sense of humour is a bit strange..
- I definitely don’t have my shit together
- I dream big, and I go for it (this year especially)
Ways in which I (and EVERYONE for that matter) can be even MORE like Frances
- run and/or pirouette everywhere you go
- be more vocal about how you feel, especially when your feelings are justifiably hurt. We’re too young to get ulcers.
- cut your hair
- take a weekend trip to Paris, VISA bill be damned!!!!
- Don’t let self-pity/doubt/ego get in your way/get you down
- Drop the sometimes awfulizing perspective and instead adopt a Frances Ha, rose-coloured glasses, I’m the shit attitude
If you’re a loyal friend, a sensitive Sally, an occasional wine guzzler, a rambling party goer (among plenty of other glorious things), then this movie is for you, because you are probably a Frances Ha type. Even if you’re not, the film is still worth a watch if you appreciate an off-beat dram-com filmed in black and white and full of charming individuals. Here’s hoping it all works out for us dreamers in the end.
Great, insightful post!