‘Frances Ha’ and the importance of location

I first heard of Greta Gerwig when I saw No Strings Attached in theaters. Her character had those one-liners you wish you could insert into everyday life, subtly delivered yet balanced with just the right amount of humor.

Greta Gerwig at her finest in No Strings Attached.
Image courtesy of ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com.

Although I’ve still only seen a select few of her films, her credibility as an actress is established with the types of characters she chooses to portray. Let me introduce you to Frances Ha, a 27-year-old woman trying to make it as a dancer in New York City. She faces obstacles thrown her way that include the difficulty of paying rent and the distancing from her best friend as their life paths head in different directions.

I had been meaning to watch Frances Ha, and I finally got around to doing it today. The film was shot entirely in black and white, something I wasn’t expecting.

Director Noah Baumbach explains this decision by saying, “It’s about a moment in all of our lives: This late-20s time when we’re making a transition from young adulthood to adulthood. I think the black and white makes that idea both nostalgic and present” (washingtoncitypaper.com).

I was wary of the black and white style at first; I didn’t want it to turn me off to what I was hoping would be a well-crafted story. Thankfully, it didn’t. Instead I found myself paying more attention to the character development present in the film, something I most likely wouldn’t have done had the film been shot in color to distract me. As they say, less is more after all.

I especially liked the use of location to show Greta Gerwig’s Frances in different stages of growth during the film. We see Frances struggling to make it in New York City, spending Christmas with her family in Sacramento, California, and taking in Paris, France on a spontaneous trip.

Each setting influences her character as she transitions into full-fledged adulthood. Maybe that’s why they say it’s so important to travel. The different locations we find ourselves in provide us with the valuable insight we need to handle life’s abrupt changes.

Below are some of the places Frances lives and travels to throughout the movie. I can only hope I’ll fly on a whim one day to Paris. All images are from the film.

1. New York City

Frances running through Chinatown.
Image courtesy of littlewhitelies.co.uk
Leaning out the window of her New York City apartment.
Image courtesy of klymkiwfilmcorner.blogspot.com.
Dancing in front of a New York City fountain.
Image courtesy of inalonelyplaceencounterswithfilm.wordpress.com.

2. Sacramento, California

Frances going for a bike ride in her parents’ Sacramento neighborhood.
Image courtesy of http://www.criticsatlarge.ca.

3. Paris

Frances outside Cafe de Flore. I apologize for the image size as it is a screenshot. Image courtesy of netflix.com
Frances outside Cafe de Flore.
Image courtesy of netflix.com
Frances walking along the River Seine. Image courtesy of netflix.com
Frances walking along the River Seine.
Image courtesy of netflix.com

Thank you Frances Ha for showing me the importance of travel as I make life’s necessary transitions.

-Morgan

My Jennifer Lawrence obsession continues with American Hustle

I know I’ve been absent from blogging for the past few days now, but the stress of getting ready for Thanksgiving break has gotten to me. I had so many last minute projects and papers to write that my blogging kind of got lost in the shuffle of things. I hope to redeem myself this week as I’ll be home for the holiday.

Since I’ve been gone, my obsession with Jennifer Lawrence has returned. I find myself attempting to do homework and instead watching Jennifer Lawrence interviews on YouTube. I laughed out loud at her recent Letterman interview and realized that she is such a breath of fresh air to the typically snooty celebrities that grace the Hollywood scene.

Jennifer Lawrence talks about being so worn out from her recent press tours and joint filming of the next two Hunger Games films on David Letterman.
Image courtesy of refinery29.com

I admit that I am a Hunger Games fan and dutifully went to the midnight showing of the recent installment, Catching Fire. I’m ready to pay another $13 to see it again just because Jennifer was so fantastic in it. I don’t think there’s a single role she can’t perfectly embody. If you haven’t seen the film yet, hop on the bandwagon that everyone else seems to be piling on these days. It’s well worth the ride.

Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, and Josh Hutcherson in Catching Fire.
Image courtesy of blog.zap2it.com

Jennifer’s latest acting endeavor is the new David O’Russell film American Hustle that hits theaters on December 18th. Rumors have already begun about her possible second Oscar win, and I couldn’t be more excited. O’Russell also directed Silver Linings Playbook, the film that won Jennifer her Academy Award, so she’s already on the right track this coming awards season.

As I often say as I get ready for the upcoming awards shows, “There’s no other season like Awards Season.”

So as I finish packing and completing some last minute homework, I’ll leave you with the trailer for American Hustle. I have made it my mission to see every bit of acting Jennifer Lawrence has ever been in, and I’m counting down the days until I can see what will most likely be another stellar performance. It’s time to travel to the theater to let American Hustle take me to New Jersey for an intense FBI / Con Man story.

-Morgan