Frances Ha’ and life after the marriage plot

Frances Ha is probably the best film that will be made about this generation


  • Copyright Pine District, LLC.
  • Greta Gerwig as Frances Ha

Frances Ha is probably the best film that will be made about this generation.

Let me clarify that. By “this generation,” I mean people in their late twenties right about now. Whether a film could even “be made about” that generation is debatable; describing a movie about white, upper-middle class women living in Brooklyn as representative of a vast, diverse group of people is exactly the kind of thing that’s offensive to a lot of people in this generation. What I mean is that Frances Ha is a film about a certain age at a certain time more than it is about anything else. It seems doubtful that anyone else will attempt a film about 27-year-olds in 2013 with the same grace that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach have lent to Frances Ha. The future, as painful as it is to consider for Frances, the 27-year-old whose name becomes the title of this film, is always somewhere out there. Thus, the “probably.”

Gerwig plays Frances, a dancer whose career has stalled before ever quite getting going. She works for a professional dance company, but as an apprentice and instructor rather than a full-fledged dancer in the company. We see slightly younger, more graceful women dance lead roles while Frances leads a class for children and struggles absentmindedly through rehearsals as an understudy.

Gerwig is tall and slightly broad in the shoulders, probably too much of either to fit the slight frame of the professional dancer that Frances wants to be. She bumps into things. She falls down. Her inexact physical presence is the kind of thing that can charm a packed movie theatre, but could never match the polished grace of a professional dancer. The audience understands this almost immediately from Gerwig’s physical performance, but Frances, when we meet her, has yet to accept it.