My Thoughts On… Frances Ha

Just a reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to Why Should I See This Film? which is spoiler-free!


A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • Before I even watched this, I knew that I would like it. It’s just my sort of film, which is not very helpful in terms of explaining what I like about it. It’s probably something to do with it being an independent film, which is not to say that I am one of those people who eschews studio blockbusters, because I love them as much as the next person. But there’s usually something a lot more charming and real about an independent film, and I can usually find that to love about them, even if I don’t like the story or the direction or the characters.
  • It feels totally and utterly real. It’s somewhere between a mumblecore film and an improvised film; sometimes I can’t quite get on board with an improvised film, because they almost feel more contrived than a scripted story (that’s probably just me; it’s something to do with the way they choose to deliver the lines), but Frances Ha feels real despite the script. Some of the dialogue at the start felt a bit too quirky, but as the film went on, I became completely and utterly immersed in the lives of these characters.
  • Frances Ha is one of those films where not an awful lot happens. It’s a series of vignettes, and it’s much more about the characters, and an exploration of themes, than about a strong plot. Frances is 27, and although technically she is an adult, she doesn’t seem to have transitioned particularly from the kind of grown up you are when you are at university, or when you take your first tentative steps into the big wide world. Given the choice, she’d stay cocooned in her own little world with her best friend. They are the same person with different hair, and this suits Frances fine, but Sophie wants to grow up and move on. I totally sympathised with Frances; even at 31 I still feel stuck between two worlds, and it often feels as though everyone else has moved on and grown up, and I’m left here wondering what happened. Sophie’s leaving propels Frances’ life in a direction that she isn’t keen on and doesn’t really want, and the film follows her as she struggles to get her life on track and grow up properly. This is a coming of age movie, despite the fact the main character is not a teenager, she’s a young woman.
  • Greta Gerwig was perfect as Frances. It probably helps that she co-wrote the film, but she brings so much to the screen. She’s funny and poignant at the same time; I laughed a lot at her running through the streets and falling over, but I felt desperately sad for her at times. She’s tall and almost awkward at times, yet she’s also incredibly graceful. I loved her.
  • I loved the end, with the nod to the title of the film. I thought it worked perfectly.
  • It’s 86 minutes long. I think I’ve made my feelings on the length of films clear; if it’s under 90 minutes, I’m much more likely to watch it. Films don’t need to be over two hours long.

What I Didn’t Like

  • As I mentioned above, there is a slight inclination for things to get a bit kooky. A little bit of kookiness goes a long, long way, and luckily I think they just about get the balance right here, but if you easily irritated by that kind of thing, I can understand why you might rail against this film.

Why Should You See This Film?

If you have a Netflix subscription, and a spare 86 minutes, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a beautifully shot film, and it has a really well written character at its heart, performed with aplomb by Greta Gerwig. There’s not a huge amount of plot, but it explores the idea of growing up and really taking on adult responsibilities when you hit that age where it becomes inevitable and necessary. It’s a lovely little film, and definitely deserving of all the praise it received on its initial release.

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  • Reply Chelsea

    I’ve heard a few good things, so I’ll definitely add this to my growing ‘to watch’ list! x

    June 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm
    • Reply Janey

      It’s definitely worth a watch, I think!

      June 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm

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