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Frances Ha

104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Noah Baumbach introduces 27-year-old New Yorker Frances Halliday (Greenberg's Greta Gerwig) at an optimistic time in her life. Using quick cuts, he focuses primarily on the former Californian's sisterly relationship with Sophie (Sting's daughter, Mickey Sumner), with whom she went to Vassar. Then, it all comes crashing down. Frances breaks up with her boyfriend (who has a strange obsession with hairless cats), Sophie gets fancier digs, and Frances's dance company director suggests that office work may be a better use of her time--though she praises her choreography skills. Worse yet, Sophie's fiancé soon takes precedence over Frances, who assumed they'd always be the most important person in each other's lives. Fortuitously, at a party, she meets fedora-sporting artist Lev (Adam Driver, HBO's Girls), who offers her a room in his three-bedroom flat, but she comes to find that he has a short attention span when it comes to women, and when he raises the rent, she has to relocate again. Frances will move several more times, and each location will represent another blow to her self-esteem. Baumbach marks these moves with matter-of-fact subtitles listing the addresses, but Frances's disappointments only serve to make her stronger. If he avoids direct homage, not counting a re-creation of Denis Lavant's ecstatic "Modern Love" dance in Leos Carax's Mauvais Sang, Baumbach and cowriter Gerwig have crafted a film with as much offbeat charm and bone-deep empathy as black-and-white progenitors Band of Outsiders and Stranger Than Paradise--a peak for both actress and director. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Details

  • Actors: Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver
  • Directors: Noah Baumbach
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Studio: IFC
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C7C02KC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Frances Ha" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2013
Format: DVD
"Frances Ha" (2013 release; 86 min.) brings the story of Frances (played by Greta Gerwig), a 27 yr. woman living in New York with an iffy job in a dance company. As the movie opens we see Frances spending time with her best friend Sophie (played by Mickey Sumner, a/k/a the daughter of Sting). When Frances' boyfriend asks her to move in with him, she refuses, saying she cannot get out of her lease (but in reality simply wanting to stay with Sophie). The boyfriend breaks up with her. Shortly thereafter Sophie surprises Frances when she wants to movie out to her dream apartment in Tribeca ("I'm not leaving you! I'm just moving neighborhoods!"). This starts a series of events that seemingly puts Frances in a downward spiral. To tell you much more of the plot would surely ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, this is an out-of-the-park homerun for director Noah Baumbach (previous efforts include The Squid and the Whale, Margot At the Wedding, and Greenberg) and Greta Gerwig, who has a nice string of movies going, including last year's delightful Lola Versus. Baumbach and Gerwig met on the set of Greenberg, and co-wrote "Frances Ha". The movie is charming from start to finish, yet never gets silly or sentimental. It's a slice of life as experienced by this young woman with big dreams and little or no money. The movie is filmed in delicious black and white, which of course immediately invites a comparison to Woody Allen's "Manhattan", which covers a lot of the same territory and in the same city. And guess what: "Frances Ha" stands up very nicely to the Woody Allen classic.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on November 14, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
I’m not entirely familiar with Noah Baumbach’s body of work. I’ve seen two of his other films, ‘Greenburg’ and ‘The Squid & the Whale’ and I really liked both of them. They shared a similar tonal approach and yet ‘The Squid & the Whale’ felt very much like a Wes Anderson film to me, while ‘Greenburg’ felt a little more grounded in realism (not saying that it’s the better film, because it’s not). With ‘Frances Ha’, Baumbach adds yet another layer to his stylistic approach and delivers something I wasn’t expecting and really responded to.

This is, by far, my favorite of the three films.

Briskly paced and yet filled to the brim with development, ‘Frances Ha’ has a real firm hold on its identity and it understands how to engineer itself to be as effective as possible. There is no fat here, the film just flows from scene to scene, and the character development here (more than one character even) feels so defined and so intended. You understand these characters, where they started and where they are headed. This may be my favorite character study of the year so far, and it certainly is one of the finest ensembles (so uniformly organic and honest).

The film tells the story of Frances Haliday. Frances is in her late twenties, living in New York with her best friend Sophie and attempting (however marginally) to become a dancer. She’s stuck. She doesn’t have the motivation necessary to grow up, and she’s apathetic (maybe too harsh a word) about it, completely content to just be a kid for life. Like she admits, she’s not a real person yet and it shows in the way that she navigates through life. Life is about to throw her a curveball, and jumpstart her motivation.

Sophie grows up and moves on.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Oleson TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 5, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
This is a theatrical review. It may contain spoilers.

I've seen several of Noah Baumbach's films as well as those of his girlfriend and star in this film Greta Gerwig. I've always found Gerwig's characters to be a bit odd but still very likable. This is her best film yet.

She plays Frances, a 28 year old understudy at a small New York ballet company. She's not very good, but she doesn't know it. Her best friend and roommate, Sophie (Sting's daughter Mickey Sumner) have an unusual friendship but Sophie decides to move in with her boyfriend (Michael Esper). This leaves Sophie in a bit of a lurch as their lease is up for renewal. She temporarily moves in with a couple dudes (Adam Driver and Michael Zegen) who are friends of a friend. Eventually she loses her position in the ballet because of financial cutbacks.

As Frances sputters away from her dream of being a dancer and yes, finding a guy - friends joke she's undatable - she finds refuge with her parents played by Gerwig's real parents. She then moves on to her alma mater in upstate New York to do some meager jobs, but gets room and board. At times you want to yell at Frances to get it together, but then you realize that is what she's trying to do. The film is mix of Lena Dunham's "Girls" with a little Whit Stillman and a lot of Woody Allen, including the use of black and white filming. Good flick.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charles Coulter on January 17, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I'll be honest. I was never a Noah Baumbach fan. The Squid and the Whale was over-rated to me, and, while solid, that previous Baumbach effort -- let's not forget NB has co-written some solid fare with Wes Anderson -- had the critics loving it because it had enough dark material, enough easy cynicism to satisfy the jaded mass of ex-English majors filling the dying papers. FRANCES HA, on the other hand, is FRESH, bright, fun and serious in an entirely different way. We see this young girl's friendship with her ex-college gal pal ("the other her/me") fall apart and alter as life comes along, with careers and disparate levels of success. The roomie has a relationship. The roomie has a great job. And Frances has to find her way, in that unforgiving career: dance/choreography. And let me tell you, having met the fallen bodies from Julliard and the Manhattan School of Music and watching them adjust to the rigors of this less than forgiving world is something I know well, but this film has a charm, an aplomb, a simple, lovely cadence that gives and gives. Seeing her switch roommates, return to her college roots, suffer the worst kind of "I can do it" world travel to Paris, and then land on her feet, without all the cliches of "Hey, everything is sudden success; she is a choreographer for SNL now'" is a thing of beauty. I loathe the fact that this upbeat work is not Oscar-nominated. And sure, thinking of The Prof in The Squid and the Whale, yes, I know Oscars are for Philistines :) But, honestly, from twirling to Bowie's "Modern Love" in Manhattan to 'fake-fighting,' I LOVED every moment. It does have a formlessness at first, and then you see that it's more than slice of life; it's life rendered damned well, and France's transitions are heroic. There are so many sweet moments, such as her brief visit home at the holidays, rendered in a series of quick cuts and warm images. Gerwig is great. The cinematography: majestic. Go love it.
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