Frances Ha (2013): A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles.
Sorry, had to IMDB that one because the story is rather hard to explain. So, critically speaking, as in not my personal opinion, this is the best indie movie of 2013. The reason it's not my own personal opinion is simply because I have not seen that many indie movies from 2013. Definitely not enough to render a judgement on this topic. But if you are to see one indie movie from the past year, I would definitely recommend Frances Ha.
So here are my thoughts. This movie is very much an indie movie. Which means that the director, Noah Baumbach, throws a lot of ideas against the wall, from everything that Frances goes through to even the sights (it's shot in black and white. I don't really know why but it didn't bother me at all. Don't let this fact turn you off!) and sounds of the movie. But the beauty of this movie is that about 90% of it works. Some of the musical selections are pretty weird and out there, and very little of what happens in the movie has any sort of consequence after it happens, but the events that occur in the movie, such as a broke Frances taking an entirely spontaneous weekend trip to Paris on a credit card she just received, are wonderful to watch. Frances is a great antihero, one which you identify with and root for from minute 1 on. And this is a short film too. 86 mins long to be exact. While many movies at that length suffer from a lack of character development, Frances Ha gets around this by really only requiring Frances herself to need any character development. And boy does she.
So this movie came out in May of 2013, in case you didn't know. And Greta Gerwing was up for best actress at the Globes this year. That's how memorable a performance she puts in here. She almost single-handily carries this movie as Frances, expressing various emotions flawlessly throughout the short movie. She's funny. She's lovable. She's identifiable. And through it all she's a bloody antihero! Remember that name, Greta Gerwing, for you will be hearing it a lot more in years to come. However, the movie's greatest strength is a double-edge sword. As a result of how important Frances is, everyone else is totally forgettable. Some of the acting from the supporting cast is actually kind of bad, well, at least it's not up to my standards as a viewer. Particularly the best friend of Frances, Sophie. Mickey Sumner does not do a good job with this character, with some some off-the-wall expressions and awkward acting. And she is not written very well which does not help. But again, her role is rather minimal. Frances is who this story is about, and she does a phenomenal job. That really is all that matters here.
In conclusion, this is a nice heartwarming story about finding yourself and figuring out what you want to do with your life and the mistakes you make along the way. But it is told in a far better manner than another recent movie with the same theme of finding yourself, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. If you want to see a movie about finding yourself, I would absolutely recommend Frances Ha over Secret Life any day of the week. Why? At every turn Secret Life is constantly bashing you over the head with moments where you should be moved. HERE! WE ARE MOVING YOU RIGHT NOW. FEEL IT? In contrast, Frances Ha lets the story develop and allows its theme to evolve right in front of you. A far more effective strategy. Plus Greta Gerwing outperforms Ben Stiller any day of the week.
The Critique: One of the best indie movies of 2013, Frances Ha tells a funny, wonderfully moving and identifiable story of someone trying to find themselves without constantly reminding you that that's what it's about.
The Recommendation: since it's short, I'm gonna recommend this to anyone. It's definitely worth a watch.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
Oscar Talk: Greta Gerwing may be nominated for best actress. I wouldn't be surprised, since by doing that Hollywood would be showing its support for the indie films. POLITICAL DECISIONS. But she does deserve it in all seriousness. Can't wait to see what she does next!
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