Frances Ha

This week is my last Spring Break. Which is rather anticlimactic when you work full-time and your plan to go to New York and see fun Broadway shows fails… so you work, and you come home, and dear green goddess I’m bored. Yawn.

But hey, I cooked dinner and that’s impressive for me. I even have leftovers and my tea is cold…. so dinner took longer than a pack of ramen. Also, new mug, thanks for a promotional coupon from Penzey’s Spices. It’s purple, I’m happy.

Frances Ha (2012)
Starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Summer, Adam Driver
Directed by Noah Bauchman
How I saw it: Streamed via Netflix
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

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Ok, the blurb on Netflix says this about a girl who goes to New York to dance, but she’s not a dancer. Hey, this movie is in black and white. Nifty.

Frances Ha (2013) (l to r) Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner playfighting

Opening shot of two women slapfighting in the park. Opening montage following slapfight.

Frances: “I should sleep in my own bed.”
Sophie: “Why?”
Frances: “Because I bought it.”
Sophie: “Take off your socks.”

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Title card

Life milestone: Boyfriend asks her to move in; and she says no. Milestone averted. Abrupt exit of boyfriend from the film.

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Ok, I love that Frances is as goofy on the phone as I am. Proof that you can be an “adult” and a complete spaz/dork.

Adam Driver is in this!

Frances: “I love you, Sophie. Even if you love your phone that has email more than me.” Frances, this is a cross we must all bear in today’s world.

Dancing. Dancing. She’s teaching a class of young dancers.

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Ah, the great love affair that is female friendship.

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Out to dinner with Adam Driver. Card gets declined. Frances: “I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.”

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There’s a party and I go get my bag of SweetTarts shaped like chicks, ducks, and bunnies. Oh, you guys. If you’ve never had Tim Tams w/ hot tea, you haven’t lived. You nip a corner of the top and bottom and them slurp the tea up through it like a cookie straw, then pop it into your mouth before it dissolves…. chocolately amazingness. (Tim Tam slam)

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Frances is running wildly down the street because she’s carefree and liberated.

Things we’ve learned about Frances: She’s not a real person, she’s 27 but looks older (re: awkaward breakfast scene), she’s broke, she likes to dance, and she is a mess. I feel like Frances would be fun to go out with and then go our separate ways. She’s fancies herself an artistic type without the discipline or drive to actually DO the thing. We’ve all been there. No, I never procrastinate writing by doing everything else instead.

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Frankie: “Frances: Undateable.” He says this often. Which is either endearing or…

Frances is told she will not be part of the dance company’s Christmas show. She’s an understudy and we get the impression she’s being told to dramatically reevaluate her life.

Dramatic breakdown in which Frances and Sophie try to go out for drinks with Sophie’s man, Patch. Cue aggressive female tiff in the restroom complete with body posturing, and a rather fabulous exit. Don’t get me wrong, Frances is a drama queen. But just once it would be kinda fun to make a scene, tell the other parties to stay seated, and walk out the door with the vodka. To life!

Goes home to Sacramento and squishes the face of her parent’s small fluffy white dog against her chest immediately upon arrival. (group hug, dog was a breasted casualty)

Sacramento montage. Wait, are we in a cult? AHH. Biking through the burbs.

Their Christmas tree is out of control. It’s flickering but in a counter-intuitive manner that’s distracting from the rest of the scene.

Is that Mamie Gummer???? You stole 13 hours of my life via your failed TV show Emily Owens M.D. that ended mid-season in the WORST way possible. How? How could you do that to Kostas? I mean….the traveling pants!

Pause. I just remembered I bought wine. Mmm, not bad, says the girl who usually makes an angry baby face upon sipping ANY kind of wine. It has fruity nodes….notes…nodules. Whatever. Also, I hard-boiled eggs earlier and EVERYTHING in my fridge now smells like the gates of hell. #proteinproblems

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Frances is at a dinner part with Dr. Owens and a scruffy guy that looks familiar from some film project where he appeared in full color. shrugs

Frances finds out that Sophie and Patch are moving to Japan. She’s shocked because apparently they no longer talk but she feel she should’ve known, somehow. Growing up is hard. Letting friends go, relationships changing, meeting new people. etc. etc. etc.

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I gotta say, I love the authentic nature of Frances’s hair. It isn’t perfect, even though she’s in a movie. It’s mostly straight, but kinda wavy in random places, and it’s obvious she’s tucked it behind her ear for too long. She’s one of us!

So, this wine is yummy. But now my lips are buzzing, like if you’ve played a brass instrument for too long. Because that’s a universal experience, right? No? Has everyone blown across a blade of grass/paper and made it vibrate? Hmm? Anyway… wine buzz.

Frances is still unsuccessfully fighting toward adulthood as evidenced with the phone message she just left on a voice mail. Frances: “I’ll be the girl with acne, holding more acne.”

She flew to Paris for the weekend. Two days. Two.

Sadness. She came in for a meeting at the dance company thinking she would be offered a position in the company but was offered an office position instead.

Sophie and Frances reconnect. Sophie says she will leave her fiance and return to New York. We have this moment of female bonding just like they were at the opening, and then morning happens.

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Sophie goes back to Patch. Frances takes the office job, she starts dancing, and doing her own thing, choreography.

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We get to see one of her pieces performed and everyone from the entire movie is in the audience. Including Frankie.

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Ah the complexity of female friendship. Frances: “That’s Sophie. She’s my best friend.”

We don’t get the reason for the title until the last moment of the film. Frances gets her own place. When she goes to slide her name into the the front of her mail slot, she discovers her name is too long. She folds it over and all that is visible is “France Ha”.

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What a delightful film. Highly recommended. Kind of in that quirky and slightly painful Amelie sort of way.

– SH

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