Saturday, June 22, 2013

Frances Ha (Rhoades)

Greta Gerwig
Writes Own Ticket In “Frances Ha”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Used to be singers sang other people’s song and actresses acted other people’s scripts. But now we’re inured to singer-songwriters and we’re starting to see actress writing their own scripts.
Take for example, Zoe Kazan who wrote and starred in “Ruby Sparks.” Or Rashida Jones who came up with “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” Or Brit Marlin who gave us “Another Earth.”
Joining the trend is Greta Gerwig, the thirtysomething actress who has co-written a new film with Noah Baumbach called “Frances Ha.” What’s more, she stars in the title role.
Graduating from Barnard College with a useless degree in philosophy, she’d planned to become a playwright. But after landing a minor role in Joe Swanberg’s “LOL,” she got involved with the mumblecore film movement, acting in such notable examples as “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” “Night and Weekends,” and “Northern Comfort.” Keeping her hand in, she co-wrote those three too.
Finally breaking into the mainstream, she appeared in “No Strings Attached,” the remake of “Arthur,” and Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love.”
The New York Times described her as “ambassador of a cinematic style that often seems opposed to the very idea of style.” A compliment, I think.
Earlier on, she’d met director Noah Baumbach while co-starring with Ben Stiller in the dark comedy “Greenberg.” Gerwig and Baumbach later started dating and and began developing creative projects together.
To wit, “Frances Ha.”
Gerwig did not write the script with herself in mind, but Baumbach convinced her she was perfectly suited for the part, since the words had come from her in the first place.
In this subtle black-and-white film, Frances Handley (Gerwig) is a dancer whose life is turned upside down when her roommate decides to move out. She’s totally depressed when she realizes that her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) has outgrown her.
Greta Gerwig wanted to explore the idea of female friendships. “One of my very best friends, her mother told her: ‘Enjoy your female friendships now because you’ll never really have them as you get older.’ And she really believes that. But I ultimately feel like it has gotta be possible.”
A melancholy comedy, “Frances Ha” is typical of Baumbach’s films about characters in crises. In the film, Frances is able to grow up because she’s able to “go through it.”
“No, you don’t have to make all the mistakes that she made but I do think you have to go through it,” says Gerwig. “It’s like puberty. You can’t just magically transform to the place where you’re done with it – you have to go through all the weird parts in between!”

No comments: