Frances Ha

 
(i)

 

Smart, hilarious, mature look at an appealing scatterbrain.
  • Review Date: May 15, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Frances eventually gets herself together and follows her dream, but her moment of change isn't really the focus. Mostly viewers see her misadventures -- i.e. learning what not to do. But she never makes any serious mistakes, other than spending too much money, making social faux pas, and missing good opportunities.

Positive role models

Frances is a bit of a scatterbrain, and she makes many mistakes, but she's cheerful and never gives up. Plus, she never deliberately makes any bad choices; she just chooses unwisely sometimes. Eventually her optimism and gumption are shown to have paid off.

Violence

Minor arguing between friends from time to time.

Sex

No nudity or sex is shown, but sex is a regular topic of discussion; the characters think about it often. Sometimes the talk is fairly graphic.

Language

Language isn't constant but is fairly strong. "F--k" is used more than a dozen times, and "s--t" is used several times. "C--t," "t-ts," "anal sex," "bitch," "damn," "douche," "Jesus," and "slut" are also used.

Consumerism

Various logos/brand names are glimpsed in the background, such as Bank of America, Belvedere vodka, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink beer, whiskey, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages and smoke cigarettes in a background way, at home, at clubs, and at dinner parties. Occasionally a character overindulges in alcohol, with results played for humor. There's a running gag about keeping one foot on the floor to prevent "the spins."

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

Writer/director Noah 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. Packed with a new kind of appealing, cheerful wit, it's also his most purely enjoyable movie.

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.)

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 17, 2013
DVD release date:November 12, 2013
Cast:Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner
Director:Noah Baumbach
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual references and language

This review of Frances Ha was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 8, 12, and 15 year old Written byHelen Bonder July 23, 2013
 

Terrible for all ages!

Terrible film! Very inappropriate! Me and my daughter (15) thought this would be a good movie and it isn't! Terrible!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written bymymembername June 17, 2013
 

Humorous and Heartfelt with Feminist Undertones

Yes, this is not a movie that contains content appropriate for a child. Because this movie is not targeted towards children. It shows a very realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a young adult living in the city without much money or a sense of strong purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if many people had similar experiences to the troubles that Frances faces financially and emotionally in this film. Greta Gerwig is full of energy and humor as Frances, and carries this film with an air of realism and wonder at the same time. Her countless mistakes make her human, and her longing to not make so many mistakes makes her a relatable character. She is not a shining example of a human being, but rather one we all hold inside. It's true that this film resembles the quirkiness and likable mediocrity of a lot of indie films, but trust me when I say it's one of the great ones. Frances Ha has heart. Not every film should be expected to have some big sleek production with a main character who might as well be Superman. I think it's refreshing to see a female lead character who deflects common tropes such as having a life that revolves around some guy. The ending was satisfying, and without giving much away, you can clearly see a growth in the character of Frances. Good movie. Note: No violence or sex is depicted in this movie. The common effects of drinking are shown in an unappealing manner. Contains cursing and blatant talk of sex. While my close family enjoyed it, this movie does not fit the general idea of what is family-friendly (or rather, child-friendly).
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byDan G. June 7, 2013
 

An Anthem for the unmotivated with bad language and sexual irresponsibility

Francis is the most messed up character I've seen in a movie for awhile. If being lukewarm is the greatest sin, then she's guilty. Drifting through life, she is not only unable to care for herself, she cannot care for others either. She is so uncaring and unmotivated, she finds herself homeless and drifts around until she finds someone else to sponge off of. And all the while she is dispensing with seemingly wise guidance for everyone else that is totally ridiculous. Although goofy, she is disarming, and it is hard not to like her. But she is a terrible role model for today's youth. The film contains the crudest language along with frequenty profanity, frank irreverent sex talk, and couples openly living together unmarried.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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