Hannah Takes the Stairs
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Joe Swanberg`s "Hannah Takes the Stairs" is a low-budget art-film done in a quasi-improvisational style. It centers around a group of self-absorbed twenty-somethings who spend most of their time sitting around discussing life and relationships as if such subjects had never been talked about before. The result is a sometimes insightful but more often tedious look into the mindset of today's younger generation.
Hannah (Greta Gerwig) is a neo-Bohemian playwright with poor instincts when it comes to men, who, upon dumping her ne'er-do-well musician boyfriend, immediately strikes up romances with two fellows at the obviously loosey-goosey TV production company where she works. The movie strives hard to be as extemporaneous as possible both in its performances and its direction, and while that does yield a few moments of truth and honesty along the way (the break-up scene is almost painfully convincing), too much of the movie is simply vapid and self-indulgent, with a trio of perfectly able-bodied young folk puling and mewling and whining about life to the point where we just don`t care to listen to them anymore.
With no real plot or storyline to speak of, watching "Hannah Takes the Stairs" is a bit like staring at someone else's random doodlings for an hour-and-a-half and finding no real reason why we should care about them. And, oh yes, unless I missed it, no actual staircase appears in the movie, with or without Hannah going up or down it. I guess it must be metaphorical.
Hannah is a twenty-something intern at a production company. She starts off with one boyfriend, and quickly gets rid of him, because she likes someone else that she is working with. He starts to get a little stale as well, so she replaces him with the other guy that they are working with.
I would find it more interesting if there was a script intact. I could deal with ad-libbing if it were amusing or enjoyable, (not to say that this was ad-libbed, but it seems as though it was) but most of the time, you had to listen carefully, because there was a lot of mumbling, and to be honest, the characters weren't that compelling. They also seemed as if they could learn some social skills as well.
And, of course, there is Hannah. She seems to be floating through life, not a care in the world, except for who she is going to sleep with next. She wasn't intelligent like the men at work claimed. She was so self absorbed, so annoying, and it was really hard to listen to her voice, quite honestly. I have read many books and seen movies where the characters are not good people or I don't empathize with them, but at least in those situations, the characters were intriguing! The conversations were so awkward, with so many pregnant pauses, and everyone interrupting each other. It was like not being able to look away from a car crash.
My boyfriend walked out of the room halfway through, but I decided to stick it out, just in case it got better. I hardly ever write really negative reviews like this, unless something is really terrible.
Hannah is a basic plot; a bored girl has boring relationships, finds love, the end.
Stylistically, we're dealing with an absolute bare bones project: The film keeps `on location,` the location typically being two or three sparsely decorated houses; the mise-en-scene is kept quite minimal. The cameras are also completely framed with a handheld `home video' look, exemplifying both the digital video era we are currently living in, as well as evoking a type of YouTube-esque exhibitionism.
It's the content of Hannah that is so perplexingly frustrating; there is nothing that the text could be saying. The director is aiming for 'naturalized' acting, 'naturalized' situations, and 'ultimate realism.' But for what purpose? 'To document a generation.' Well, then do a documentary; don't create an absolutely facetious representation that is inherently speaking to absolutely nothing. What's the point of creating if there's no creativity?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Save your money and time.
Has to be one of the worst movies made...Greta Gerwig should stick with porn...it takes zero talent!
...but only moderately entertaining. Usual Hollywood mess of what started as a good script. Put in my secondary collection for now.Published on March 16, 2013 by R. Overall
An unusual but provocative film that seems spontaneous, which strangely adds to its magic. I was captivated by it.
When I saw my first Swanberg film, I thought it was a brilliant parody of this subculture of folks I like to call indie kids - even though they're chronologically not kids at all. Read morePublished on January 3, 2011 by D.M. Cross