Movie review: Frances Ha (2012)

The vacuous lives of twenty-somethings. Frances Ha starts with the lives of two close friends. Almost too close. They live together. Breathe together. Sleep in the same bed. At one point, Frances describes the two of them as two lesbians without the sex.

Life for these two is a series of relationships, drinking, and parties. Nothing serious. Nothing adult-like. No plans. No direction. Just life in New York City.

Then Sophie moves out to live with another woman. And things unravel for Frances.

Whereas the lives of others around Frances evolve, she stands still. A stunted adolescent at a dinner party with lawyers and other responsible adult types of her same age. How she talks, acts, presents herself is reminiscent of the pre-adult stage of awkward college graduates who have yet to find a real job and take on the trappings of adulthood.

Others have relationships, marriages, children, houses. They travel. Own homes in foreign countries. Get sent by their companies to work in foreign countries. And here Frances sits, crashing at different people’s homes, no job, no plans, no nothing. She floats by, even regresses.

The movie was painful to watch at times. In the end, Frances starts to move in the direction of the adult world—she accepts an administrative job at a dance company and subsequently, gets her own apartment. A big step for her.

But Frances is decidedly outside the world that others inhabit. That world of marriages, children, houses, possessions. She is outside looking in to a world in which she doesn’t seem to belong. That can be alienating and depressing.

The inspiring thing is despite this she didn’t despair. It wasn’t that she exudes hope or has grand plans. She floats by and ends up in a better place. A better place for her. A place that is unlike the worlds that others around her inhabit. To be outside the norm, what others are experiencing, can be painful and lonely. You are in your own world. Set apart. Separate. Alone. There are no others there. But it is your own world. Yours to inhabit.

Find the world in which you are comfortable, the movie seems to say. The world in which you are you. And all will be well.

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