Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FRANCES HA | First Viewing. Second Posting.

I have seen FRANCES HA twice. Not on purpose.  Not really.  It just kind of happened.  And now I'm going to milk the experience for three blog posts.

One about how the second viewing made me realize the film was a bit screwball-y, one about the ways in which it is screwball-y (coming soon), and this one.

This post is about the first viewing.  I saw it with a friend, and afterwards we walked around NW Portland, and talked about it.  I can't remember what she said precisely, but she noted that initially she wasn't sure where the story was going, but when she learned that Frances was 27 years-old, the story took on some necessary gravitas.  Then she used the word "sad" - I'm not sure what specifically was sad, if it was that Frances, or her situation, or something else, but I remember the word was sad.

The reason I don't remember the details is that I was a bit... What's the word? Concerned? Shamed? Self-conscious?  All of the above?  Because my brain turned into a bit of a Tilt-a-Whirl, instead of asking what I wanted to know ("If you think that's sad, what must you think of me?!?"), I just said something like, "Uh-huh."  Or maybe, "Yeah."

The thing is, I had found the film personally resonant in some ways.  I am similarly adrift.  I am also minus the trappings that make up the lives of most adults my age.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying, "I am Frances Ha."  I'm very clear on the fact that I'm no longer 27, I'm not a dancer, I don't live in NYC, and I don't look like I live in an Urban Outfitters ad.  However, there's a lot associated with youth that doesn't ever really end.  Whenever I see a real or fictitious 20-something struggling through some Big Life Choice, all I can think is:  Brace yourself.

We age, but we don't really mature.  Or rather, nothing ever gets locked down and secure.  Settling down/in is a myth.  We are all continually struggling to understand our place in the world, attempting to make good choices regarding boundaries, navigating insecurities, attempting to bolster our talents, etc.  And once we get one area sorted, we're pushed forward to a whole new slew of challenges.  And, the moment we think we've graduated from one area, that's when divorce or death or one of their friends will show up and send us back to remedial school.

But my friend had said, "Sad."  Which had made me think, "Oh, shit."  Because maybe it's not We, but Me.

Maybe my theory about maturity is something I have created as a salve for my under-achieving, rudderless and tractionless ways.  Maybe I am sad.  Maybe that's what people see.  Maybe that's what defines me to the outside world.  I don't know.

I do know that if that's what I am right now, then that's what I am right now.  I can't change that with a wish, a mantra, or a purchase.  I suspect the only way out is through, so I'll just keep showing up each day and see what happens.

Released: 2013
Writers:  Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Director: Noah Baumbach
Leads: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Genre: Comedy, Screwball
Plot summary and reviews of FRANCES HA @ Rotten Tomatoes.