|Gerwig (r) and Sumner (l) are wonderful together.|
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Produced by Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Lila Yacoub, Rodrigo Teixeira
Written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig
Starring Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner
Frances (Gerwig) is a mess. She bounces from job to job and apartment to apartment. She can't stay in most relationships, except for her close best friend. She dreams of becoming a full-time dancer, but she can't make it happen. Her friend Sophie (Sumner) is there through most of Frances' setbacks, despite their problems, but her fickleness really holds her back. Her life isn't meshing with her dreams, but she keeps pursuing a dance career, even when it leads to embarrassing results. Can she turn it around? Can she get her life together and accomplish her dreams?
Noah Baumbach's latest is easily his finest outing since his Oscar-nominated film The Squid and the Whale. Greta Gerwig gives her best performance here, playing the quirky Frances with a playful authenticity and unkempt panache. However, Mickey Sumner is also brilliant as Sophie. The black-and-white cinematography feels appropriate, both in terms of storytelling and self-awareness. With deadpan humor and interesting, neurotic characters, it channels the best of Woody Allen, and it even has a nice "Modern Love" homage to Leos Carax's Mauvais Sang. The film is a trim 86 minutes, packed with laughs and great chemistry between Gerwig and Sumner. It's an indie darling that's worthy of such a moniker, and it's one of my favorite films of the year.
Oscar Potential: Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay