Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Movie Review: Frances Ha

Greta Gerwig dances, plotlessly, in 'Frances Ha'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

I hope this does not represent a trend, but for the second week in a row I must try to review a movie that has no plot whatsoever.

Last week's Fruitvale Station ended with a situation somewhat resembling that of the Zimmerman-Martin killing, but then leaped into the closing credits and told about the trial and what followed only in printed titles. And this week's Frances Ha ends with our heroine in a situation very little different from where we saw her at the start, with no clear developmental relationships between the episodes in between.

The most puzzling thing is that both of these movies are very skillfully made, with excellent performances of clearly written characters acted convincingly, adding up to totally believable little sketches of life as it is really lived, by people not a lot different from you and me-- neither very wise nor very stupid, neither very admirable nor really unsympathetic.

I almost wonder whether the effect of mere meandering, rather than storytelling with a central theme, is part of an attempt to portray life as most of us live it most of the time. If that is the case, I can only say that art requires arrangement leading to some kind of a point, and I can't see any point being developed in either picture.

At the end of Frances Ha, the title of which is explained in the last shot and means nothing unless it suggests that our heroine has never quite grown up, Frances may have scaled down her demands on life to something closer to her potential, but I'm not sure she isn't just muddling along the way she always has been.

I grant, Frances Ha is very well made. But what is it?