A youthful 27-year-old woman moves to New York hoping to pursue her dream as a professional dancer without money, love and closure. She is lost in transition. A drama film with comedic and tragic elements, Frances Ha, from 2012, by director Noah Baumbach, is one of those coming-of-age motion pictures that leave unsettling dust after. The adult world of worries, unemployment, loneliness, awkward talks and comfortable silences follows the faith of the main protagonist Frances (played by Greta Gerwig), living, like everyone, in this tumultuous human experience. Big city storms of rejectment and breakups with friends, lovers and places are present surrounding this woman in her late 20s at the times she craves to belong, to find some little space on Earth that will take her as its own.
A small-town girl from Sacramento expecting the ideal, following the dream in the movie is presented a few years later as a woman with a childlike expression. Living broke “the college student lifestyle” with beer bottles, a messy bed, and smoking in the small apartment window, she is cracking jokes and has a deep connection with her roommate, who is similar to Francis but more mature. Then everything turns around. Frances breaks up with her boyfriend because she is not ready to accept the adult perspective of life. That event pulls the trigger for many seems unfortunate events to occur. Parting ways with her roommate Sophie who got her life together, different manners from others, non-existing job opportunities, inability to do something you do and loves to do, impulsive decisions and destinations, the thought of escape as a solution than turning back to past to find something unfamiliar are some of the themes this movie shows existential crisis young adult is left to battle.
Movement takes a huge part in the movie concept. Even though most of the scenes are filmed with the still camera, Frances being a dancer is able to show magnetic moves of art in many camera shots. Changing places, from hometown to big city, from roommate to another roommate, from without expectations America to exotic European Paris, and from past (student dorm) to future (own apartment) are some o the examples of potential and kinetic energy this movie has. Total and wide shots are beautifully put together with symmetry showing the duality of the story and characters that appear with Frances as well as the distance of closure between people and one individual.
The symbolism of Frances being a 27-year-old artist could be understood as an allusion to club 27. The metaphor of the death of an artist is a metaphor for the death of youth, one life chapter. The story of Francis continues the archetype developing the idea, mentioned in Virginia Woolf’s literacy, used as a role model. The realisation is that loneliness is inescapable because we can share it with other people and because of the fear of ourselves stepping into our own subconscious. When this thought is recognised, life moves further than this book of artists quoted in the movie. The new chapter begins.
Years passed by, but the day lasts forever. Making peace with time, life and faith as well as the conventional culture of setting down. Self-reflection is after all not only seen in the mirror. This movie is a reflection of all of us whether we like it or not. It seems to me that this movie has a special audience and if you are below the age of 27 you find this movie pessimistic and unpleasant. But if you are 27 or older it seems to bring something sweet and a strong feeling of watching a good one.