I love it as a whole, this gorgeously captured honest interpretation of friendship and life as a 20 something in New York CIty.
I think I hate it because I honestly feel exposed as an awkward self centered friend, one that doesn’t handle bad times well, as Frances is the epitome of it.
I, about 9 months ago, was deeply in love with a friend. Much like Frances and Sophie are/were in the beginning of the movie. Their friendship becomes strained when Frances’s love for Sophie gets challenged by her jealousy of Patch, and Sophie’s evolution into a women more dependent on an adult stable life.
Frances bounces to a new friend group, her dreams of becoming a successful dancer are trumped and she’s living with two men who are boys, one harboring a crush for her who she deems as just a friend, and another who is a revolving door of casual sexual encounters, who she becomes slightly impatient living with because they have money coming from other sources, while she struggles.
The symbolism is beautiful, her arrival and departure from Sacramento with her family. The actual holiday that she is having, and the mental holiday she has until that moment in the bathtub when her mother prompts:
"Frances, how much longer?"
Her return shows her returning to new York trying to again transfer her love and goofiness onto another person. Again at the dinner party she passively aggressively bashes and praises Sophie, and her similarities to her. While in fact she feels more separated from her than ever.
"I think I’m better looking then when I am in pictures." A guy prompts our understanding that the party has turned in to one we’ve all had were we share our own insecurities and yet keep bragging all at once. So Frances comes out with this brilliant drunken confession summarizing how romantic she is, how hopeful and bruised all at the same time.
"I want this one moment. It’s what I want in a relationship, which may explain why I’m single now, Ha, Ha. It’s kind of hard to… uh It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but - but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s - That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess."
Then just up and leaves. Runs into a overly dull vapid hip “pretty” girl and Benjamin, brags about a trip to Paris, and reading Proust.
Flawed, and raw and awkward. You cringe for her, always running, falling. With crazy hair, and slightly masculine clothing. Going alone to Paris, and freaking out about it, because it’s reality and not romantic like she projected it to be, it’s lonely and awkward. Then Sophie contacts her in a sad misalignment in timing. Apologies and communication, but not full truths as both of them make sad smiles and fidget.
The awkward view of her seemingly perfect best friend’s relationship and life that she witnesses. Flaws again. But her compassion to a drunken angry friend. Late night confessing that relive the best times of their friendship. Their worst times. A future that we all know isn’t going to happen.
A written apology. A dramatic and embarrassing chase scene. A return to the city, a revival in a happy and successful, and confident Frances. It all picks up so beautifully for her. Almost the entire movie represented in her chorepgraphy and the final performance where everyone comes together to see the success of Frances.
"Who are you making eyes at?"
"That’s Sophie, my best friend."
Sorry, I am breaking down each painful and beautiful moment. Most if not all of my college career I spent it analyzing movies, breaking them all down to the small moments. So, when I watched Frances Ha, sitting with 4 other people, one of whom I just had starting working with in a new city, in a new job, in a lofted out warehouse in Fishtown, lonely but not. Comforted but not. Things so raw and familiar matched with a new experience myself.
I love it all. The depressing feeling it brings to me, and the wounds it opens about myself. But I hate it all at the same time forcing me to see traits I have reflected in someone else. But, maybe that’s just a personal reflection of the first time I watched it. I watched it just this morning again before responding to you and see much more of the growth and determination of Frances. The beautiful ending where she learns to take a moment and breathe, to appreciate the small doorframe and the ever charming way we learn the source of our movie title.
Anyway, that’s pretty much a perfect movie. It makes me feel, real feelings, ones that catch and hold onto you. Not just while your watching it. Like how we used to cram information into our heads before an exam and toss it out of our heads. I still can’t remember certain biology facts. But, I remember how subtly Frances became all herself.