Greta Gerwig stars as a knock-about New Yorker. That’s kind of the plot. She’s twenty-seven and, in the words of one of the character, has an old face, but doesn’t have her **** together. Gerwig’s performance is really wonderful. She’s a flighty, rootless, wandering loser and she’s excellent at finding hilarious moments of awkwardness and charm and melancholy moments of self-reflection. The rest of the cast is really great as well. The film is shot in luminous black and white and features a fantastic score of found music, everything from scores from the French New Wave films that obviously influenced this one to eighties pop songs. It’s a film that’s consistently laugh-out-loud funny. If you like your films with strong plots, this’ll give you hives; it’s a film that just rambles about, split into chapters based on who Frances is crashing with. At just over an hour-twenty, it still felt kind of long the first time I watched it. But if that’s a flaw, it can’t really be separated from the main strength, the loose-limbed charm of both the film and its “heroine.” I absolutely loved it. It’s hilarious, charming and witty. It’s my first Baumbach film, but it won’t be my last. The scene of Frances running down a New York street as David Bowie’s Let’s Dance blares on the soundtrack is the most unfettered moment of cinematic joy I’ve experienced this year. Do yourself a favor and get to know Frances. Oh, by the way, one of the major pitfalls of this kind of movie is the ending; movies that just sort of ramble about usually don’t have any idea how to end, but that is assuredly not true of this film. The final shot of this movie is absolutely perfect. Great movie. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – Greta Gerwig’s hilarious performance and the beautiful black and white cinematography shine in this plotless film about young people in New York. Charming, rambling and funny. 4 stars.