Review: Frances Ha

Frances Ha is basically all about the adorableness of Gerwig. Seriously.

By Max Weiss | June 2, 2013, 10:30 am


Review: Frances Ha

Frances Ha is basically all about the adorableness of Gerwig. Seriously.

By Max Weiss | June 2, 2013, 10:30 am

Did you ever wonder what Annie Hall might be like if the main protagonist was Annie and not Alvy Singer?

You have your answer, in a way, in Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha. And I have a bit of bad news for you: The film would be a lot less delightful.

If you don’t know, Greta Gerwig, who plays the titular character, is truly the Diane Keaton to Baumbach’s Allen. (They are even apparently dating in real life.) He loves her—his camera loves her. He’s completely besotted with her fumbling, awkward, faux-näif adorableness. It was Baumbach who first introduced the mainstream to Gerwig, previously a darling of the mumblecore movement, in his Greenberg. I liked her in that movie, even considered her a star in the making. Since then, I’ve grown less enamored.

It’s not that I don’t think she has a certain charm—or a certain natural ability as an actress—it’s just that I find the whole “look at this adorable, broken fawn of a girl, always adorably blurting out the wrong thing and being adorably clumsy yet paradoxically, bewitchingly graceful” thing a bit tiresome.

Now if you do find Gerwig as bewitching as Baumbach does (and many do), Frances Ha will be the film for you.

Because Frances Ha is basically all about the adorableness of Gerwig. Seriously, that’s the film’s subject.

I mean, ostensibly, it’s a film about how hard it is for a young person to find their way in Manhattan, especially if they aspire to be an artist. (In that sense, it’s Slaves of New Yorkfor the Twitter generation.) It’s also, ostensibly about a close friendship between two women—it’s a love story, really—but Baumbach loses interest in the other friend (she’s simply not Gerwig-y enough, I suppose) and the final moments of the film, meant to give us a satisfying sense of closure on their friendship, ring hollow.

I’ve loved a lot of Baumbach’s work, especially his brilliantly mordant The Squid and Whale. And while I certainly appreciated certain aspects of the film—its lightning-fast montage editing style in particular—it really didn’t work for me. Oh well. As Annie might say: La-de-da.

Meet The Author

Max Weiss is the editor-in-chief of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.

You May Also Like

Arts District

A Look Inside The First African History Children's Museum

Sankofa Children’s Museum in Park Heights dubbed the first of its kind in the country.

The Chatter

Why Is Governor Larry Hogan Meeting with Chris Evans?

The ‘Avengers’ actor met with the governor to pitch a political project.

The Chatter

How to Celebrate MLK Day in Baltimore

Honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with kids' programs, yoga, arts, and more.

Arts District

Culture Club: 'We Are Arabbers' BMA Screening, Drag at MICA, and Opera's Rising Stars

Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.


Movie Review: The Gentlemen

Wherein Guy Ritchie does Guy Ritchie things.

Arts & Culture

Picture This

Grandson of longtime Baltimore Afro-American photographer Henry Phillips preserves his one-of-a-kind collection.

Connect With Us

Most Read

What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.

Caleeb Pinkett Screens 'Charm City Kings' at Sundance Film Festival: Producer talks source material, filming in Baltimore, and his famous family.

Maryland Politicians React to Trump Impeachment: Local leaders reflect and look ahead at Senate trial.

Will Judge Make an Example Out of Catherine Pugh?: With the former mayor’s sentencing scheduled for February, both sides get to work on their case.

Orioles Execs Not Mentioned in ‘AstroGate’ Sign-Stealing Scandal: GM Mike Elias and the O’s other ex-Astros employees have steered clear of the fallout.