Frances Ha


If A Reviewer Falls Asleep During a Movie…

So here’s the question given that I’m new to this blogging gig:  if I fall asleep during a movie, can I still write a review?  First, some backstory.  I went to Frances Ha when my 12 year old son was at an appointment, then the Y, and then jazz band – all in downtown Ann Arbor.  He could WALK between activities ON HIS OWN.  No driving was needed.  It is difficult to adequately explain how unusual this is.  A perfect 2 1/2 hour window miraculously appeared.

I saw the movie at the historic Michigan Theater (, and enjoyed live organ music, popcorn with REAL BUTTER, and – get this – a beer!  Never have I had a beer during a movie – and inside the movie theater, no less.  The Michigan Theater recently acquired some strange license permitting this (you pay a one-time fee of $5 for a “Simple Access” Membership).

I enjoyed the beer, popcorn, and live organ music far more than the movie, which I suppose I should now discuss.  Frances Ha was directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, who stars.  Although I like some of Noah Baumbach’s work, particularly The Squid and the Whale, he specializes in films about privileged, nebbishy characters (Greenberg being the most noted example.)  In Frances Ha Gerwig plays Frances, a 27 year old college graduate who is foundering.  The movie follows Frances for about a year as she flails (she is an aspiring dancer) and fails.

I’m not sure what made the movie so sleep-inducing.  I always have a harder time describing why films don’t work then why they do. Frances is annoying.  Her friends, who like Frances are privileged 20-something New Yorkers, are annoying as well.  The plot, like Frances herself, meanders.   Given that I was asleep for a good part of the movie I obviously can’t speak to what I missed.

In the end, the movie didn’t matter.  Sitting in the gilded glory of the Michigan Theater with old-school organ music, popcorn, and beer, was bliss.  Sometimes, it’s all about the wait.

Rating: ** (out of ****)


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