BY AFRA NARIMAN
Frances Ha (2012)
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Summer, Adam Driver
A carefree woman living in New York City who is a dancer (kind of), navigates her mid-twenties, trying to cope with “growing up,” and the fact that all her friends are moving on from their young, carefree days. This is a coming-of-age of sorts, about a young woman trying to find herself during the most dynamic and definitive years of her life.
Written together by Baumbach and his partner and star, Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha is a coming of age film about a young, carefree woman learning to cope with life and the fact that she’s growing out of the time of her life in which it is societally acceptable to be “carefree.” Frances aches constant excitement; she doesn’t want to “grow up.” She doesn’t want to let go of her 20s, but all of her friends and her peers around her are changing and leaving her behind. She doesn’t want to sacrifice her freedom and happiness for money and responsibility. Instead, she seeks to find her own way in life.
The film explores the reality of people’s lives and how those who seem happier, often times are miserable; as seen through the life of her best friend Sophie and the life she chose for much of the film. The story is as much about friendship as it is about finding yourself in a world that just wants you to give up on who you are, and just become what you should be.
The film can be extremely relatable for some people, as it highlights a segment of the human experience. It’s filled with sadness, comedy and heartwarming emotion. Greta Gerwig’s portrayal of Frances, the carefree young woman who just wants to enjoy her life, is beautiful. Her character captures the essence of the romantic young person living in a world that isn’t built for them to flourish. In the end, Frances finds the balance she’s been looking for. After traveling, trying new things and meeting new people, she gets to know herself on a deeper level and finally settles down peacefully.
After some tension while her and Sophie went their separate ways in hopes of finding themselves, their journeys come full circle in the end. Friendship triumphs. Frances gets a good paying job, and also fulfills her passion for dance (even if she’s not really a dancer). The film ends with a dance show that she choreographs, with all her friends, peers and mentors in attendance, smiling and congratulating her; realizing that Frances has found herself after feeling so unsure for such a long time.
The film shows us the importance of staying true to yourself and follow your ambitions; and that if you’re able to do so, you will naturally get to where you want in life. Frances Ha is a film about independence, friendship, personality, humor, and the overall human experience of growing up, that we all must cope with at some point or another. The story is extremely enjoyable, endearing, humane, and a story that all young people can relate to if they search their hearts; especially young women. Greta Gerwig masterfully portrays an inspiring, confident young woman in a story of independence and humanity.