I loved Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha when I saw it in Telluride, and then I dropped the ball by not filing anything. It’s a much faster, sharper and more high-end Girls without the male-hate factor. It has a buoyant Brooklynesque spirit (principally embodied in Greta Gerwig‘s open, vulnerable performance — a slam-dunk for a Best Actress nom). It captures the under-30 thing with exactitude and panache and heart. And it’s probably the most beautifully photographed black-and-white film of the 21st Century (cheers to dp Sam Levy).
I love Baumbach’s description of Frances Ha in the NYFF press conference video [above] as analagous to a kind of basement-tapes movie in the vein of Paul McCartney‘s first two albums after he left the Beatles.
“I had a wonderful time with Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha,” Jett Wells wrote at the end of the festival. “A critic we spoke to confided that he sensed a slightly possessive boyfriend element, as director Noah Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig are a couple. But that didn’t materialize, and Gerwig’s lead performance felt like the most genuine I was ever going to see from her — it was perfect.
“Frances Ha has a floating Brooklyn mumblecore pace and vibe, and is about a 27-year old dancer (Gerwig) who is lost when her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner, daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler), falls in with a rich boyfriend.
“You can’t help but compare to HBO’s Girls, but it’s not that at all. It’s not about gross, uncomfortable-to-watch-sex; Baumbach already accomplished that with Greenberg. The writing is sublime, really tight and filled with pockets of hilarious improvised dialogue. The whole house was giggling and adoring Gerwig despite dealing with a 20-minute delay wen the film began without the center dialogue track.”
I’m serious about the cinematography. Frances Ha was captured with a modest digital camera, and it looks an awful lot like Gordon Willis‘s legendary b & w lensing in Manhattan. Really. I honestly found it more transporting than the cinematography in Michael Haneke‘s The White Ribbon.