The Importance of Being As Earnest As Frances Ha

In modern film, it’s difficult to find a character that possesses any amount of sincerity. All you get these days are clever automatons in the vein of your Juno and Charlie Bartlett types. But alone amid the sea of faux genuineness is Frances Halladay, or Ha (you have to see the movie to understand).

Frances, plain and simple
Frances, plain and simple
Released in 2013, Frances Ha marks the first writing collaboration between Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (their second, Mistress America, will come out later this year). More than faintly tailored to Gerwig’s own awkward, good-natured persona, part of Frances’ likability stems from the actress portraying her.
With her best friend and roommate, Sophie (Mickey Sumner)
With her best friend and roommate, Sophie (Mickey Sumner)
Like Frances, Gerwig had an interest in modern dance and had planned to study musical theater in New York. Instead, she opted for an English/philosophy major, but ended up in New York nonetheless. The similarities between Frances and Gerwig continue in that both hail from the sleepy suburban city of Sacramento (apart from Joan Didion and Molly Ringwald, very few other famous people can make that claim).
Enjoying simple pleasures with her roommates
Enjoying simple pleasures with her roommates
Whether or not this means that the earnestness of a character stems from how closely he or she resembles the actor playing him or her is arbitrary. The only thing that can be stated with certainty is that a film’s resonance is in direct correlation to the empathy one feels with the character (barring, of course, any Stanley Kubrick movie). And, in the past decade of cinema, no one has come across as more so that Frances Halladay.

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