Frances Ha Review

“…the film’s ‘hands-off’ approach to storytelling came back to bite it in the second half…”

Frances Ha is a very interesting movie to watch. It’s essentially the story of a starving artist in New York, but the way it tackles the subject is unlike anything I had seen before. Usually when a movie deals with the trials and tribulations of making it big in the art world, it comes with a lot of sadness and depressing scenes, but not Frances Ha. It was strange, despite her entire world crashing down around her at times it seems like Frances was living in a music video. I’m not sure if that is a testament to how unaware she is at the gravity of the situation, or if it just goes to show how optimistic she can be in the face of adversity.

Once I got over the weird tone of Frances Ha I started to be able to appreciate it for what it was. For instance the movie has no real plot, instead just showcasing moments from Frances’ life as tough it was a sketch comedy show, and once I got the hang of that the movie became a lot easier to stomach. Frances Ha is really funny. It’s hard to see that the movie is supposed to funny at times, but it made me laugh a lot. Granted some of this laughter came from the fact that the relationship between Frances and her friend Sophie is identical to the relationship between two of my friends so I saw a lot of them in the characters, but there were quite a few legitimate laughs as well.

I will admit it is kind of hard to get behind Frances Ha becasue the movie is pretty pretentious. Not the movie exactly, but the people in the movie. You can’t really be a starving artist if you are able to fly to Paris for a weekend, you know? I would love to be able to call Frances Ha “earnest” or “realistic” but that’s tough for me becasue I don’t know if anyone acts like this. It’s just such a weird mix of affluence and ignorance that it doesn’t seem real in the slightest. But it is good for a laugh every once in a while.

Now the fact that Frances Ha doesn’t have a plot does take a toll on the movie about halfway through when you realize that nothing is ever going to happen and there is still 45 minutes left. Luckily the focus of the movie changes to one a little more relatable for me: loss of friendship. Throughout the entire movie Frances describes Sophie as her best friend. This became more and more tragic as the film went on and the pair continued to grow farther apart. This was a surprisingly mature look at a problem that I personally have faced in an otherwise quirky movie, and I appreciated how it tackled the subject. What I didn’t appreciate was the ending of the movie which instantly brought everything back to the no-consequence bliss that we had been experience earlier on. It just felt kind of lackluster.

Overall Frances Ha was a vey interesting movie. It took the idea of a struggling artist and injected it with a lot of fun, which is something you don’t see often. I feel that the film’s ‘hands-off’ approach to storytelling came back to bite it in the second half, but still I don’t look back on the movie as bad.

I give Frances Ha a B

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