I have a problem with the word platonic. It defines something that is way more interesting than what it seems to be. Male friendships have now become widely accepted as a ‘Bromances’, yet the bond between females, equally as deep and meaningful, is stuck being defined by the old lifeless descriptor, platonic. A non-sexual love. Snoozer. I’m hoping Greta Gerwig, the lead in Noah Baumbach’s newest film Frances Ha, will be remembered as the femme that helped shed platonic from its drab and stuffy skin. Be it, ‘Femships’ or ‘Bromances’, Frances Ha, actualizes what every woman feels inside for her best friend, love in its lightest form.
Thankfully, this topic is in the right hands. Written by both Baumbach and Gerwig, Frances Ha is about a soul mates, making friends, un-friending, re-adding, and re-prioritizing as the looming presence of turning thirty draws near. One of the most endearing qualities of Baumbach’s filmmaking is his masterful ability to cast. Much like his earlier films Kicking and Screaming, Squid and the Whale, and Greenberg, the performances in Frances Ha’s small ensemble cast are natural and seamless.
Whether it is through Frances as a modern dancer or the corporeal comedy that Gerwig plays with, there is a physicality that is brazenly matched by its mighty location. Given his employment of budding New York actors like Adam Driver (Girls), Frances Ha has as much to do with its New York City location as anything else. Filming in black and white on location in New York City means only one thing to cinefiles- an obvious comparison to Woody Allen’s Manhattan. But despite its blatant nod toward cinema classics (there are also a number of Truffault references), this film has a heart all its own.
Depending on your age and path, Frances Ha, may lead you to question where you are in your life vis–à–vis your dreams, accomplishments and friendships. In my humble opinion, when a film is powerful enough to move you into self-reflection, it’s success is immeasurable.
Frances Ha opens nationwide on May 31.