review – ‘francis ha’


The whole movie is one long conversation between, about, among and around two best friends, Frances (Gerwig) and Sophie (Sumner) who are, in the words of Frances herself, “…like an old married couple. We talk a lot and we don’t have sex.” Their talk is often frank, sometimes funny, broken up by break-ups and move-outs, by dance practices and trips abroad. It’s the talk of those who do everything together, who tell each other “…the story of us…” Sophie is the one in oversized glasses. Frances is the one who “…seems a lot older but less like a grown up.” But this is her story in more ways than one. Gerwig also co-wrote the script with director Noah Baumbach.

She plays Frances with energy and abandon. Whatever you expect as the typical summer movie, this isn’t it. It’s loosely constructed, filled with montages, shot in black and white. There are no super-heroes, only ordinary young people sharing conversations and confidences. Gerwig holds it all together with a sense of awkward honesty and unmitigated joy. She is stumbling though life unconcerned but not unaware, unsure but not insecure. She’s a work in process with a plan just now coming together of whom she could be. One way or another, as the film winds to its conclusion, it feels like she has found her niche. Maybe not forever, but for now. Or if not, she’ll find something else. Ah, the joy of youth.