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Greta Gerwig finally graduates from being indie film's favorite "manic pixie dream girl" in "Frances Ha," a touchingly rendered look at life in modern Manhattan.
Gerwig plays Frances Halladay, who at 27 is having trouble letting go of her girlhood dreams. Her apprenticeship at a dance company seems to be going nowhere, while her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner), is working a real job, getting engaged and moving into her dream SoHo apartment. This leaves Frances to bounce from one apartment situation to the next, as she tries to figure out her life.
Gerwig co-wrote the film with director and current boyfriend Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale"), and together they create a character who charmingly and anxiously deals with the travails of being a grown-up.
Baumbach has shot the movie in black-and-white, giving Frances' Manhattan life a timeless ethereal quality similar to what Woody Allen brought in "Manhattan." Baumbach doesn't hit the intellectual heights of Woody's classic, but he does give Gerwig a platform to be her effervescent self.
Opens Friday, May 31, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual references and language; 86 minutes.