The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Brody Rossiter
MODERN LOVE SCENES
As the buzz for Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s latest collaboration, Mistress America, feverishly encircles indie cinema lovers in the same manner as a group of bespectacled hipsters would a freshly poured cold brew coffee, it makes perfect sense to revisit the duo’s finest hour and twenty-six minutes via Netflix.
The titular Frances Halladay is a 27-year-old dancer living in Brooklyn. Frances’ life may well be full of expressive postmodern motion, but realistically, she isn’t really going anywhere. when her best friend, Sophie, decides to move out, the quirky and socially awkward student is left to lament upon her strained friendships, faltering professional prospects, and woeful bank balance.
On one level, Frances Ha is an entirely predictable offering from Baumbach and Gerwig (the pair also co-wrote the picture). The picture is everything you would expect from one of their cinematic partnerships, and yet, this dialogue rich mixture of tongue-in-cheek characterisation, vivid monochrome imagery and self-aware storytelling, takes a lifestyle obsessed with the surface and brings to light the real emotion trapped beneath its trend-obsessed tokens and first world problems.
Gerwig’s gangly, accident prone lead performance (a recognisable trademark of the talented actor) is endlessly endearing and full of charming self-reflection. Her impromptu excursions out of the city and off beaten indie narrative track gift the picture with a vibrant sense of spontaneity further accentuated by an eccentric score. The film’s subversion is always compounded with moments of joy, sorrow and everything in-between – including champagne induced meltdowns.
A jubilant piece of filmic choreography, Frances Ha isn’t just concerned with looking cool (which it always does), but also revels in relaying a quintessentially modern New York fairy tale. Told through the eyes of a heroine striving to find her own identity and independence amidst a sea of vanity and privilege, the film is a heart-warming and humorous entry into a genre which so often only manages to scratch the surface.