The Complexity of 'Frances Ha': Are We Really Young, Wild & Free?

The Complexity of 'Frances Ha': Are We Really Young, Wild & Free?

"...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..." - Frances Ha



Frances, a twenty-seven-year-old dancer from California, lands in Brooklyn as an apprentice dancer in a small company with aspirations of becoming a full member. Instead, she is being left out from its staff, and a startling downward spiral takes over her life.

Frances breaks up with a lover at the beginning of the film, purportedly out of obligation to Sophie, her roommate and best friend since college, but the breakup seems insignificant in comparison to the ups and downs in their connection.


Sophie, a rising star in book publishing, accepts an offer to move into a nice apartment in Tribeca that Frances can't afford since she is dating a Wall Street analyst who is making a lot of money. Frances consequently ends up effectively homeless while also being unemployed, artistically disengaged, and friendless—with a few breakdown stops along the way.

& Free

Frances, however, maintains a smile and a cheerful approach throughout the film, in contradistinction to her true situation, as if to conceal her anguish. She struggles to admit her problems, voice her complaints, or take significant steps to address them. She grips at each rung she can while falling loose, trying to keep her mouth shut as much as possible. Her loneliness serves as both a haven and a treasure, and beneath her desperation lies an inkling of greatness and a sense of destiny. 

Behind its more or less typical New York indie-world story, "Frances Ha" is a complex film, both in terms of what the movie shows and what it doesn't, in terms of its story arc and its convergence with off-screen life.

Are We?

Ιn all the whirlwind of everyday life, between the career she would like to pursue, the girlfriend she adores, the life she wants to live and doesn't want to live at the same time, Frances reminds us of our own lives. Unpredictable, sometimes clumsy, sometimes full of laughter, sometimes drowned in the excitement of nothingness. Young, wild & free. I don't know if we ever are. Sometimes we are young, we try to be wild, but deep down we all want to be free. Perhaps, someday, if we're lucky, we can be all three together.


Photo Credits: Frances Ha (2012), dir. Noah Baumbach
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