John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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It is a bittersweet portrait of the generational parenthesis between generation X and millennials. Frances embodies the diaspora of educated middle class young people raised to inhabit a society that no longer exists but being unable to truly belong to this modernity.
Now that Greta Gerwig is best known as the creative force behind Lady Bird (2017) it's wonderful to see that she is equally talented as a comedic presence in front of the camera. This is one of Baumbach's best known films and features the first of appearance of the always wonderful Adam Driver. It's Gerwig's luminosity that makes or breaks the picture and she gives it her all in a performance reminiscent of Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (1977). Any Baumbach movie has clear Woody Allen influences but here Manhattan (1979) holds a specter over every stylistic choice in the film from the black and white cinematography to the quirky, unlucky in love heroine. There is none of the creepiness of that film present though as the main character is not dating a teenage boy and horribly manipulating him.
Frances Halladay, Greta Gerwig, is a flighty dancer in her mid-twenties with very few ambitions in life other than preserving her friendship with Sophie, Mickey Summer, whom she shares a very close relationship with. When Sophie moves to a trendier neighborhood with her boyfriend, Frances is forced to move out of their shared apartment because the rent is too high. As she moves around to various apartments she meets Benji, Michael Zegen, a potential love interest and Lev, Adam Driver, a wealthy young sculptor. Her relationship with Sophie falls apart as Frances fails to mature whilst Mickey develops closer bonds with others. As her life falls apart around her Frances maintains a mostly upbeat, friendly demeanor and approach to life but will it all become too much?
Gerwig's performance is the central attraction in the film, as stated in the opening paragraph, as she's completely watchable whilst also being slightly insecure and ditzy. The difference between herself and Keaton is that when her character needs to have dramatic moments she moves beyond the entertaining little tics that her character has and we feel genuinely morose along with her, no matter how small her problem. Her fear and excitement as she questions a dance instructor about taking extra classes is palpable and relatable even as Frances lives a life more glamorous than most people could ever hope for. Her romantic scenes with Benji are also largely carried by Gerwig as she appears confident in her own desirability whilst not being entirely certain of Benji's intentions. She's so damn good.
The meandering plotline and lack of real resolution, we do understand that Frances has in some ways grown up, did not bother me because the characters were interesting enough and the dialogue so specific that I was completely engaged for the majority of the running time. I didn't go in expecting a normal â~plot' from a Noah Baumbach film and I think that the fact that I didn't expect this helped me enjoy the film more than say, my father who is a fan of superhero films, ick. Moments like that in which Frances exhibits â~immature' behavior whilst out to dinner with Sophie and her boyfriend and we witness Sophie's consternation are heartbreaking and therefore we have more reason to understand her change than we do in Captain America: The First Avenger. I got what I wanted out of the film, good performances, well-observed moments and great writing but if you go in expecting more than that you may be disappointed, if you're expecting Step Up (2006) this is not your movie.
The cinematography in this film deserves some comment as although I don't think it's capturing of New York will ever be quite as iconic as Manhattan, because come on it's Manhattan. Even a shot of Frances and Sophie peeing out of their windows is rather beautifully captured as the dark shadows of the windows spread across their faces and the stillness of their motions is similar to the Isaac and Mary argument in Manhattan. When Frances returns to her hometown of Sacramento the film looks more mundane but I suppose that fits the story's intentions why leave big, glamorous New York City and return to the much less exciting city of your youth.
If you love Noah Baumbach you will obviously have seen this film but if you are not familiar with him this would be a good introduction point and you'll fall in love with Gerwig as you're along for a lovely little ride.
The quirkiness needs some getting-used-to, but Gerwig is equally hilarious and solemn when she needs to be. In all, the film expresses a much needed "F**k you" to the arrogant and stiff attitudes of city-life.
A film that follows young adults who are still trying to find their identity in the complexity of relationships. Sometimes to dialogue driven, their performances help balance it out
maybe I am too old, but I guess this felt like a new generation's "Reality Bites".
A perfectly whimsical and light hearted coming of age flick that’s pleasant from the minute it hits it’s groove
Way too self aware. It’s a movie trying to be a smart movie. Nothing feels authentic. - Greta’s overly “indie actor” schtick is on full display with all its terribleness. - If you drive a Vespa and are referred to as a hipster… If you try desperately to be someone you’re not, in hopes of appearing cool. This movie is for you. Enjoy 😊
Greta Gerwig is incredible as always with another film directed by Noah Baumbach entirely in black and white
she once again shines as Frances Ha, a woman who doesn't seem to have it all together but still makes the most of it
she's homeless, jobless, but not friendless
she dances at a ballet studio yet doesnt make enough money to support herself so instead she hangs with a lot of chill individuals even so much as to staying at their places
she moves from location to location having as much fun as she can
yet it may dawn on her eventually that the real world is tougher than she realizes
Gerwig is so chillax playing this character speaking her mind, being upbeat, and going with the flow
maybe sooner or later like most of us she can slowly make her way towards a true passion that makes her her
Although it took a little while to get used to, Frances Ha's kind of flaky but sweet heroine whose life is rather chaotic becomes rather endearing, thanks to Greta Gerwig.
A lovely off beat movie in black and white that feels very artsy and French. About a 27 year old who starts off living with her old college best friend as a roomate. They are tight and quirky. Frances is in New York to be a dancer but as an apprentice that is kinda clumsy, she is eventually let go when the company isn't doing so well. It's clear as she slowly goes kinda downhill trying to find roommates and places she can afford while her friends move on to be in their career jobs and borrow money from rich parents that she's stuck in life and it's hard to get where she wants to be when people think she's older than she is and yet not grown up and responsible. She ends finding her place by working the desk at the dance company instead of being an apprentice while creating her own choreograph. It's a journey of an adult out of college who is on her own growth journey learning if she wants to do something she has to be the one to make it happen and tell herself she can. It turned out that her high and successful friends were faking it and unhappy in reality while she stayed true to herself, that everyone goes through this even if they pretend they don't. My sister told me to watch this as I was lamenting again how I feel frustrated not knowing what I'm doing with my life and feeling ever so lost. Saying the main character reminded her of me, she wanted me to not worry about it. That it will work out and to keep on being myself. For most of the movie I'm cringing. THIS is my nightmare. That I end up older and still not having a clue what I'm doing and where I'm going. Watching my friends go on and soar which is great. But I have a harder time being happy because as they succeed they leave me behind. The main character reminds me also of Charmaine. Off-beat and not like other people.