It’s tough out there for actors. It’s even tougher if you are a woman. It seems that, unless you are a certain body type and/or a certain age, there are very few parts out there for females. One solution is to write a script as a starring vehicle for you and that is just what Greta Gerwig recently did. She co-wrote “Frances Ha” along with director Noah Baumbach. The film played the film festival circuit last year and is opening at the Living Room theaters in Boca and at the Regal Delray and Shadowood starting tomorrow, May 31.
“Frances Ha” revolves around a woman named Frances trying to navigate through life while living in New York City. She apprentices at a dance company, but does not appear to be much of a dancer. (It is unknown if Greta has trained as a dancer.) She loses her roommate, and has to crash at different friends’ apartments. There is no fluid linear story here as the movie is broken up into chapters representing where Frances is living at that time. In true independent movie fashion, they shot it in black and white too.
Think of “Frances Ha” in the same way as you might think of the television show, “Seinfeld”. It’s a movie about nothing except not as funny, even though this is supposed to be a comedy; and, its characters are not as interesting. In truth, we really don’t like Frances that much. This is an independent film, so there is no rule saying you have to. You become frustrated with her the way a parent may with a child who expects things to be merely handed to them. As the movie plods along, this is ultimately Frances’s journey.
Baumbach and Gerwig are reportedly dating, so maybe the lesson here is not to make a movie with your significant other. Noah Baumbach is a very accomplished and talented director and writer. There is really nothing wrong with his direction of this film. True, it does get boring to the point where you may start yawning, but that is more of an issue with the script than the directing. The movie is pretty short, but felt longer, never a good sign.
Have you ever heard some real witty dialogue in a movie that you really enjoyed, but felt, “No one talks like that in real life.” Don’t worry here because the words spoken in “Frances Ha” are very much set in reality. This works for and against the movie. It’s doubtful a movie audience would find a conversation overheard while at a party to be very interesting and when Baumbach and Gerwig set out to write their script, that’s the direction they decided to take, a bold choice, but not necessarily the right one.
As far as the performances go, everyone in the cast does a fine job. No one is outstanding, but there are no bad performances in the movie. Some indies go on to become real gems while others are forgettable. Unfortunately for “Frances Ha”, it is the latter. It is rated R for sexual references and language.