Director Noah Baumbach has a knack for taking the mundane detritus of everyday life and weaving it into fascinating cinematic journeys, beginning with the all-too-talky “Kicking and Screaming” (1995) through the depressing but intensely honest and real “The Squid and the Whale” (2005) through “Greenberg” (2010) and now “Frances Ha,” the director’s ode to life and love in modern New York City. Developed with and starring Greta Gerwig, the director’s real-life girlfriend, this charming black and white tale follows a woman in her late twenties who’s trying to sort out her ambitions, her dreams, her finances, and, above all, her changing bond with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). As Frances, Gerwig is light and joyful and a pleasure to watch. But, therein lies the rub: the film is all too light and joyful, leaving the viewer hungering for more. Still, in a year that has brought us noisy and meaningless outings such as “After Earth,” “Bullet to the Head,” “A Good Day to Die Hard,” “R.I.P.D.” and “The Wolverine,” too light is a virtue. Extras: Conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and the film’s co-writer and director, Noah Baumbach; conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and the film’s co-writer and star, Greta Gerwig; conversation about the look of the film between Baumbach, director of photography Sam Levy, and creative director Pascal Dangin; trailer; booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker. Vitals: Director: Noah Baumbach. Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 86 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $4.001 million, The Criterion Collection.
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