Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Movie Review - Frances Ha

Director: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner
Year: 2012

I was excited to see a Noah Baumbach film, as I'm a big fan of Wes Anderson.  The two have worked together before, Baumbach does the Woody Allen/New York City vibe justice, and his movies have that same feel that I love in Wes Anderson films.  I thought the trailer for Frances Ha looked pretty good, although I was concerned that I might not feel connected to a story about two girl BFFs.  And besides, how would Baumbach know what that was like?  And then I saw that Greta Gerwig not only stars in but co-wrote the script for the movie, making me hopeful that at least the pair would get it right, even if I didn't relate to it completely. But maybe there was too much going on with this project, too many pieces that had to come together well.  Because, although it was a pretty good movie all in all, it didn't have the Wes Anderson excellence, it didn't have a phenomenal New York quality, and it wasn't all that well written. 

Frances is a free-spirit and a hard girl to hold down.  She flits from apartment to apartment, from friend to friend, from job to job.  She wants to be a dancer but she's just not that talented.  She hates working, loves drinking, can't seem to save any money, and flies to Paris for no reason if she gets a new credit card.  The one constant in her life is her best friend Sophie, the one person in the world who understand what makes Frances tick and how she can lead the life that she does.  But when the two friends "break up", her life becomes even more chaotic than usual and she just can't seem to steady her wildly tilting world.  A trip home to the parents', a visit to her old college; nothing can recapture the freedom of youth and Frances must admit that responsibility is just around the corner.

I liked the simple quality of the film above all else.  It was in black & white, it was about nobody other than Frances, and the movie was made up mostly of conversations between friends & daily activities.  It felt real, honest, a little sad, and was not overdone in the least.  And the dialogue was really funny in a horribly uncomfortable sort of way, as Frances was one of those people that always says the wrong thing and never knows when to shut up.  So I enjoyed the basic parts of the movie but it didn't have anything that I would call great.  The writing seemed like something anyone could do, there wasn't really much director involvement in the cinematography, and Greta Gerwig was just alright as Frances.  She was believable, that's something, but she wasn't exactly lovable & really, neither was the film.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰


  1. Good review Olie. Definitely one of the most pleasing flicks of the year that made me happy to live the life I have now, and also for what's next to come in my life. Never thought I'd get that from a Noah Baumbach movie. Not ever!

    1. I did enjoy the positive outlook it shed on life. It could have been a very depressing ending.