Frances Ha
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Frances Ha

Noah Baumbach's latest is destined to become a quarter-life crisis classic.

Noah Baumbach (USA, Special Presentations)

Friday, September 7, 9:30 p.m.
Ryerson Theatre (43 Gerrard Street East)

Saturday, September 8, 12 p.m.
Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge Street)

Saturday, September 15, 6:15 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

An enchanting mix of Girls’ female-centric look at arrested adolescence, Manhattan’s romantic, monochrome rendering of New York, and the freewheeling spirit of the French New Wave, Frances Ha is Noah Baumbach’s best film since 2005’s The Squid and the Whale. It’s also the most effervescent effort of his career to date—thanks, one suspects, to the influence of co-writer Greta Gerwig, who also stars as the hapless but irrepressible Frances.

At 28, Gerwig’s Frances is experiencing a full-on quarter-life crisis: she’s an underemployed dancer who can’t make rent, is unlucky in love (a roommate dubs her “un-datable”), and can’t quite face the fact that her best friend/platonic life partner is preparing to move abroad with her fiancé. But she’s also a marvel of awkward affability, and, for all her flaws, is impossible not to root for.

Indeed, Gerwig is terrific, turning what on paper could be a rom-com stock type into a loveable, thoroughly naturalistic portrait. On the strength of her performance, Frances Ha achieves much the same feat. Transcending the increasingly crowded subgenre of belated-coming-of-age comedies with a resonant authenticity, it has all the makings of a generational classic.