Frances Halladay, played by the actress Greta Gerwig, populates every scene in the movie Frances Ha. She is a self-aware, not-particularly-competent young woman who claims to be twenty seven years old — and I say ‘claims’ because other characters in the movie tell her that she looks older — and is incapable of holding down a job or an apartment. The movie plays out as a series of reversals suffered by the character that lead to a ‘coming of age’.
The thing about Frances is: she processes the events around herself–even those unrelated directly to her own life–from a self-centred point of view. And that may be a comment on a certain subset of 20-somethings around the world but that made this character someone I never want to meet in real life. Ms. Gerwig injects a certain enthusiasm into her performance but it appears to be an enthusiasm tempered with irony. So this movie may be authentic but it sure didn’t make me want to celebrate it.
Presenting this narrative in black and white seems like another decision made for the sake of imbuing texture and meaning where neither exist. What does it even mean that director and co-writer Noah Baumbach explains the choice away as being so that he could, ‘boil it down to its barest bones’ and create an immediate “history” and “a kind of instant nostalgia’? I think of this type of justification as Fridge Magnet Logic.
Still, it appears that there is a market for this type of storytelling (and movies like this are easy enough to make), but it definitely was not for me.