Skip to content

Frances Ha

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.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Richard, you may be interested to know the Modern Love scene in Frances Ha is an homage to a very similar and equally wonderful scene in Leos Carax’s Bad Blood, where the dancer cavorting to the Bowie tune is the exuberantly agile Denis Lavant. Note that several of the cues are by composers associated with Truffaut – Georges Delerue (Jules and Jim and others) and Jean Constantin ( The 400 Blows), an association that helps to underscore the movie’s unmistakable nouvelle vague-ish feel.

    August 21, 2013
    • Thank you, Lynden. I like Carax’s films, but I’ve never seen Bad Blood, so I will now.

      August 21, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: