Greta Gerwig is a big, gawky actress who is also, paradoxically, quite lithe. She seems to have replaced Parker Posey as the “It” girl of the indies. She manages to turn her klutziness into a kind of grace.
As Frances, the dithering, knockabout, perpetually put-upon heroine of Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha,” Gerwig is worth watching even when her scenes fall flat. Frances is a struggling dancer who spends much of the movie moving in and out of digs in Brooklyn and Manhattan and Westchester. She’s always on the go and yet never quite going anywhere. Even when she takes a whirlwind sojourn to Paris, she might as well be slumming in Soho.
Baumbach, who also co-wrote the script with Gerwig (his romantic partner), has a loose improvisatory feel for funky comedy. In the scenes with Frances’s best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner), the film seems especially true to the nature of female friendships. It’s a skimpy, overextended riff, but some of the seemingly tossed-off moments are lovely. Grade: B (Rated R for sexual references and language.)