It’s not often I want to get up and dance in the aisles of a cinema, but that’s how I felt halfway through Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha the other night, when David Bowie’s “Modern Love” erupted out of the speakers. I’ve never been keen on Bowie (although I admire the stuff from his Berlin period), but “Modern Love” is one of those tracks — like Boffalongo’s “Dancing in the Moonlight”, Danny Wilson’s “Mary’s Prayer” or the New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” — that automatically quicken the heartbeat and turn the world’s colours up a shade. It doesn’t matter who it’s by. Listen without prejudice, as someone once suggested.
Frances Ha benefits from an excellent soundtrack, including a fine cello-led piece by Joan Jeanrenaud (the Kronos Quartet’s original cellist) and incidental music by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips. You might or might not remember Wareham from the indie rock bands Galaxie 500 and Luna, in which he was joined by Phillips, to whom he is now married. They’ve also recorded as Dean and Britta, and they contributed music to Baumbach’s first film, The Squid and the Whale, in 2006.
I hadn’t expected to like Frances Ha as much as I did. It’s not nearly as cutesy as this trailer might make it seem. By the end, Greta Gerwig turns Frances into a character with real depth, someone you really care about.