Starring and co-written by Greta Gerwig (‘Greenberg’ 2010, ‘To Rome with Love‘ 2012) this is a sweet little black and white film following twenty seven year old Frances, as she suddenly realises her career and relationships are perhaps not really heading in the directions she had thought they were. Set in New York City, it’s a drama acted out via situational comedy, primarily revolving and depending upon the lovability and appreciation of the slightly ditsy, but fun loving, Frances, and her deep but soon to be strained connection with her soul mate and best friend Sophie (played by Sting’s daughter, Mickey Sumner). It is largely successful in its premise, but it is a little pretentious in places, with lots of stylised images of ‘artists’ smoking, which is not only a cliché but an outdated one, with smoking’s social acceptability on the steady decline (something which some of the dialogue seems self conscious of). It feels like the characters are living in the cinema of the sixties rather than now, a feeling deepened by a random trip to Paris at one point for Frances – although this also mirrors modern successful films, with the likes of ‘2 days in Paris’ (07), sequel ‘2 days in New York’ (12), ‘Paris, je t’aime’ (06) / ‘New York, I Love You’ (09) and Woody Allen’s migration from his love affair with The Big Apple to European cultural hotspots, most recently with his much lauded ‘Midnight in Paris’ (11) and the aforementioned ‘To Rome with Love’.
It’s directed by Noah Baumbach (‘Margot at the Wedding’ 2007, ‘Greenberg’) who teamed up with Gerwig for the script. Overall it meanders a little too much, and is a little vain, but nevertheless it successfully crafts a delicate and artful expression of friendship.