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Frances Who?

Half of 2013 is now gone. As a moviegoer and film lover, what first springs to mind when such a milestone passes is: What are the best movies I've seen so far this year? I've watched 16 movies that can be counted as 2013 films and, based upon those offerings, it's been a solid, if unremarkable year in cinema thus far. Here, then, is my favorite movie 2013, as of mid-year.

Frances Ha
It's like a drop of a nostalgia for a time that has existed for many of us, and continues to exist for many folks to this day. That's how I view Frances Ha, the latest film by Noah Baumbach, co-written by its star, Greta Gerwig. It's nostalgia because, although it occurs during present day, it centers around the lives of twenty-somethings who are attempting to live carefree, in-and-out of relationships and sexual encounters, unfocused, basically bobbing-along through the early years of adulthood until something clicks. Those of us privileged enough can relate to such a time.

It's not easy to make a movie that appears to be about nothing. Baumbach succeeds here admirably. There is a plot to Frances Ha. It snakes, quietly, throughout the lives, loves, loss and gains of the main characters. We're treated to the strained bonds of friendship, so common to the young who eventually grow up and begin developing their own, separate lives. We come across the frustrating situation of two people who could possible be together, but instead pursue others whom they likely shouldn't. Then, of course, there's the way in which characters barely make ends meets, yet somehow manage to have funds to party.

I went into Frances Ha skeptical, came out of it mildly pleased and, upon reflection, think more of it with each passing day. It's a nice slice-of-life piece. Some have criticized it for being unrelatable because it's about young people in New York City, but that makes it no more or less unrelatable than if it were about young people in Alabama. It is what it is. And, yes, I do think it is relatable. We've all had friends, we've all been confused about life, we've all had loves, and we've all been lonely. Therefore, I believe we'd all get something out of Frances Ha.

If it plays in a theater near you, try and make the time to see it.


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