Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Noah Baumbach|
|Produced by||Noah Baumbach
|Written by||Noah Baumbach
|Edited by||Jennifer Lame|
Scott Rudin Productions
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
|Box office||$11.3 million|
Frances Ha is a 2012 American comedy-drama film directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. Gerwig also plays the title role. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2012, and was released in a limited release, on May 17, 2013, by IFC Films.
Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) is a 27-year-old dancer who lives with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) in Brooklyn. When Sophie decides she wants to relocate to her dream neighborhood, Tribeca, Frances is unable to afford it and is forced to find someplace else to live. From there the film follows Frances to Chinatown (where she shares an apartment with her friends Lev and Benji for a brief period), her hometown of Sacramento, California (where she sees her family for Christmas and reconnects with high school friends), Paris (for an uneventful two-day getaway that she pays for on a credit card), Poughkeepsie (to work at her alma mater Vassar as a waitress and summer RA), and finally back to Washington Heights in New York City. Along the way Frances laments her lack of money, her poor prospects as a professional dancer, and an increasingly strained relationship with Sophie. The film concludes with Frances reconciling with Sophie and enjoying a modest but satisfying existence as a fledgling choreographer, teaching dance to young children and performing clerical work for her former dance company to pay her bills, exploring a potential relationship with Benji, and living alone in her own apartment.
- Greta Gerwig as Frances Halladay
- Mickey Sumner as Sophie Levee
- Charlotte d'Amboise as Colleen
- Adam Driver as Lev Shapiro
- Michael Esper as Dan
- Grace Gummer as Rachel
- Patrick Heusinger as Reade "Patch" Krause
- Josh Hamilton as Andy
- Maya Kazan as Caroline
- Justine Lupe as Nessa
- Britta Phillips as Nadia
- Juliet Rylance as Janelle
- Dean Wareham as Spencer
- Michael Zegen as Benji
Frances Ha is directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. Gerwig, who also stars in the film, announced it in April 2012, though Baumbach's involvement was not revealed until the film's listing in the Telluride Film Festival's lineup. Gerwig starred in Baumbach's 2010 film Greenberg, and they decided to collaborate again. They exchanged ideas, developed characters, and eventually co-wrote a script. The Los Angeles Times highlighted Gerwig's foray as part of a trend of female actors becoming writers or co-writers; other examples include Zoe Kazan for Ruby Sparks and Rashida Jones for Celeste and Jesse Forever. Gerwig said she did not anticipate starring in Frances Ha, but Baumbach thought she suited the part. He filmed Frances Ha digitally and in black-and-white, the latter to emulate in part collaborations by Woody Allen and his cinematographer Gordon Willis in films like Manhattan (1979). CBS News compared Frances Ha's style to the works of Jim Jarmusch and François Truffaut. Filming locations included New York City, New York, Sacramento, California, Paris, France, and Vassar College, which is Baumbach's alma mater. Gerwig said that Baumbach filmed multiple takes so none of the scenes were truly spontaneous.
The filmmakers included a number of pop songs, including "Every 1's a Winner" by Hot Chocolate, "Blue Sway" by Paul McCartney, "Chrome Sitar" by T.Rex (band) and "Modern Love" by David Bowie. This sequence is an homage to Leos Carax' movie Mauvais Sang, where Denis Lavant runs through the streets (as Greta Gerwig does in Frances Ha with the same soundtrack). The soundtrack also references multiple French films: it contains music by Georges Delerue, Jean Constantin and Antoine Duhamel, originally written for films of the French New Wave. The soundtrack includes a song by Felix Laband.
Frances Ha premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2012. The Los Angeles Times reported its reception, "Audiences seemed pleasantly surprised by the warmth from the often-mordant Baumbach." It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2012. After the screening in Toronto, IFC Films acquired North and Latin American rights to distribute the film in theaters. Frances Ha also screened at the New York Film Festival on September 30, 2012. The film was screened at Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013.
Frances Ha has been met with critical acclaim. Based on 162 reviews collected by review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 93% "Certified Fresh" approval rating, with an average score of 7.8/10. The site's consensus is: "Audiences will need to tolerate a certain amount of narrative drift, but thanks to sensitive direction from Noah Baumbach and an endearing performance from Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha makes it easy to forgive." Metacritic calculated an average score of 82, indicating "universal acclaim," based on 35 reviews.
Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice praises Gerwig's performance, writing, "It's a relief that Frances Ha isn't as assertively frank, in the 'Look, ma, no shame!' way, as Girls. And this is partly Gerwig's vision, too. No other movie has allowed her to display her colors like this. Frances is a little dizzy and frequently maddening, but Gerwig is precise in delineating the character's loopiness: Her lines always hit just behind the beat, like a jazz drummer who pretends to flub yet knows exactly what's up."
Peter Debruge, reviewing for Variety, described Frances Ha, "This modest monochromatic lark doesn't present a story—or even a traditional sequence of scenes—so much as it offers spirited glimpses into the never-predictable life of Frances, a 27-year-old dancer." He said Frances was "a character whose unexceptional concerns and everyday foibles prove as compelling as any New York-set concept picture, delivering an affectionate, stylishly black-and-white portrait of a still-unfledged Gotham gal". Linda Holmes, writing for National Public Radio, said, "I have limited patience for the attitude that people talking about nothing is cool and subversive, or that obnoxious people are enthralling, or that people from New York are more interesting than other people." Holmes found the film agreeable: "What helped Frances grow on me as both a character and a movie was Gerwig's vexing—and yes, sometimes intentionally irritating—performance as a young woman who's so frenetically trying to fit in that she can't, who's so desperately trying to grab onto something that she slips off every time." She concluded, "The film is funny and likable, despite the trappings of self-conscious New York navel-gazing."
|List of Accolades|
|Award / Film Festival||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|Bodil Awards||Best American Film||Frances Ha||Nominated|
|British Independent Film Awards||Best International Independent Film||Frances Ha||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actress in a Comedy||Greta Gerwig||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Low Budget Feature - Drama/Comedy||Douglas Aibel (casting director), Henry Russell Bergstein (associate)||Nominated|
|Central Ohio Film Critics Association||Best Picture||Frances Ha||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Greta Gerwig||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Greta Gerwig||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Feature||Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Lila Yacoub and Rodrigo Teixeira||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Jennifer Lame||Nominated|
|London Film Critics Circle Film Awards||Film of the Year||Frances Ha||Nominated|
|Actress of the Year||Greta Gerwig||Nominated|
|Technical Achievement of the Year||Sam Levy (cinematography)||Nominated|
|Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival||Audience Award||Noah Baumbach||3rd place|
|Toronto Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actress||Greta Gerwig||2nd Runner-up|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Greta Gerwig||Nominated|
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- Debruge, Peter (September 1, 2012). "Frances Ha". Variety.
- Rosen, Christopher (October 1, 2012). "'Frances Ha' At New York Film Festival: Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach Bring Their 'Pop Song' To New York". The Huffington Post.
- Olsen, Mark (September 7, 2012). "'Frances Ha' bonds Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig". Los Angeles Times.
- Morgan, David (September 30, 2012). "N.Y. Film Festival: Noah Baumbach's whimsical 'Frances Ha'". CBS News.
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- "Edinburgh Film Festival programme unveiled". 29 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
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- Zacharek, Stephanie (May 15, 2013). "Greta Gerwig Stars in Noah Baumbach's Dating Manual, Frances Ha". The Village Voice.
- Holmes, Linda (September 9, 2012). "TIFF '12: Baumbach's 'Frances Ha' Proves We're All A Little Unfinished". National Public Radio.
- "Denmark's Bodil Prizes: 'Nympho-maniac', 'The Hunt' Lead Nominations". Deadline.com. January 7, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
- "Nominations 2013: BIFA". British Independent Film Awards. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
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- "Artios Awards: Casting Society Reveals 2013 Nominees". Variety. August 19, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
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- "Black Nights Film Fest Breaks Audience Record". Estonian Public Broadcasting. December 4, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
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