Sunday, June 2, 2013


When we first meet Frances, the title character in the new film Frances Ha by Noah Baumbuch, she has an apartment, a job, a boyfriend, and a longtime girlfriend she can talk with about anything. All that changes quickly, as it tends to happen in real life, too fast for reflection and without any forward momentum. When asked by a waiter for her credit card, Frances (played by Greta Gerwig) admits to not having one, adding that she's 'not a real person yet.'

Though beautiful, witty and forever talking, Frances is hopelessly herself, unable to flirt or network or command an interview. Considering her quirkiness, a new roommate labels Frances as 'undateable'. For the New York City 20-somethings of the film, settled adulthood is defined by a committed relationship, a long-term lease and a well-paid job. In the short 85 minutes we are given, we see that she has chosen the road less traveled. At one point, she apologizes for taking so long to gather her things but she is unable to rush. I love that.

Frances is an optimist. Without whining or self-pity, or asking for handouts or blaming anyone or anything, she gets going: she enjoys her family, she values her friendships, she's engrossed by her work. Nobody, including herself, seems to recognize that she's already an enviable success.

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