FRANCES HA directed by Noah Baumbach, written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, with Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver and Michael Zegen. 86 minutes. A Mongrel Media release. Opens Friday (June 21). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
The partial New York City setting and gentle black-and-white palette might recall Woody Allen's Manhattan, but the title character in Frances Ha resembles a semi-hipsterish, over-educated Annie Hall - it's even echoed in the syllables of their names.
Co-writer Greta Gerwig plays an aspiring dancer/part-time dance teacher whose Brooklyn roommate/bestie, Sophie (Mickey Sumner, Sting's daughter), moves to another apartment, leaving Frances with one more thing to figure out in an already cluttered life.
But with her infectious grin and grab bag of ironic outbursts, she carries on, moving from place to place until, broke, she literally finds herself where she was years before.
Full of funny non sequiturs and pointed observations - one about being at parties stands out - Frances Ha is Baumbach's warmest film to date. It's a lovely, bittersweet ode to maintaining the romance of friendship while tentatively moving toward adulthood.
And it gives mumblecore queen Gerwig a star-making role that she takes, runs (and dances) with and makes completely her own.