A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Frances Ha is a sophisticated, black-and-white comedy with some romantic subplots. It's very dialogue and character-based, with a wonderfully cheerful attitude; good things happen to good people, but only after they fail a few times. The biggest issue is language, which is strong and includes "f--k" and "s--t." Sex is also a frequent (and sometimes graphic) topic of discussion, though no nudity or sex acts are actually shown. Characters drink and smoke in a social, background way. There's occasional overindulgence, with effects that are played for laughs. Since the story is about twentysomethings, only older teens may actually be interested.
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What's the story?
Twentysomething Frances (Greta Gerwig) has a great life living in New York with her BFF roommate, Sophie (Mickey Sumner) -- until Sophie decides to move out. Frances tries to keep her chin up as she looks for a new place to stay, going through an assortment of quirky roommates. She doesn't have much money, but she's hoping that her apprenticeship with a dance company will lead to a job on the Christmas play. Meanwhile, her misadventures include some faux pas at dinner parties, some unwise credit card expenditures, and plenty of witty observances. Will good things ever happen for Frances?
Is it any good?
Packed with a new kind of appealing, cheerful wit, this is writer/director Noah Baumbach's most purely enjoyable movie. Baumbach is already an expert in the New York artist/intellectual lifestyle, but writing for the first time with his star (and real-life girlfriend) Gerwig, he comes up with his most satisfying, cohesive movie since The Squid and the Whale.
The style in FRANCES HA seems simple, but it's really quite intricate and complex. It's made up of dozens of spot-on lines of dialogue spoken in rhythmic little scenes. Sometimes the scenes last just seconds, and sometimes much longer. Nothing much except the passing of time connects these scenes; there's no real plot. The glorious black-and-white cinematography and choice of music keep things feeling hopeful and romantic, even when things are at their lowest. This is a truly wonderful movie, recalling Woody Allen at his best. (It has also been compared to the HBO series Girls, although it's much less edgy/graphic than that show.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Frances is a role model. What are her positive attributes? Is she smart? Responsible? Brave? What chances does she take? What choices does she make?
What does Frances learn over the course of the story? How does she earn her happy ending?
Why do you think the characters tend to drink so much? What's the appeal for them? Are the consequences realistic?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love strong female characters
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