I feel so many things about Frances Ha that it’s hard for me to type the words out in a way that makes sense. I first watched the film at BIFF with some girlfriends for my birthday, and immediately from the first moments there were pangs in my stomach and heart– pangs of recognition. This is my life, this was my life, this is my 20s, I kept thinking. There is something so beautifully and painfully recognizable in the character of Frances, and also in the romantic black and white photography of New York City.
Here we have a story of female friendship– a theme that seems to be rising up all around us in cinema and other art forms. Girl friend relationships are so complex, vibrant, romantic, sad, painful and exciting. They are also entrancing to watch when done well in a movie. The central relationship in Frances Ha is the friendship of Frances and Sophie, best friends from college who live together in Brooklyn. The opening montage feels like the story of a romance. But the movie is also about a woman alone, finding her own, stumbling and lovely path. She looks and feels so out of sync with the rest of her generation and others around her. She gets in her own way, does stupid things, takes the long way around. And she explodes in my own heart which beats to the rhythm of the fantastic soundtrack.
I lived in New York City from when I was 18 until I was 25 and 1/2. Those formative years of emerging adult womanhood were some of my most tumultuous and also most beautiful so far. I moved from apartment to apartment, relationship to relationship, F train to D train, ATM machine to ATM machine, running, falling and dancing my way. I loved the city and I felt destroyed by the city. I loved and lost people, jobs, parts of myself. I pieced my life together.
If you’ve ever been a person in your 20s, if you’ve ever lived in New York City, if you’ve ever lived in your own apartment for the first time, if you’ve ever had a friendship that was so intense, fell apart, and found it’s way piece by piece, someone you could make eyes at across a crowded party, if you’ve ever known all the ups and downs, explosions and intimacies of friendship– you will feel a catharsis in Frances Ha, and, if you are anything like me, you will be dancing in the aisles at the end.
Frances Ha is directed by Noah Baumbach, and written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (who plays Frances). The movie is playing at Images Cinema Friday 6/28 – Thursday 7/4. For more info and showtimes please visit our website http://www.imagescinema.org
There’s so much more I want to say! I will be co-leading an After Images discussion of the film along with Dan O. Williams on Monday 7/1 after the 7pm screening.