TIFF 2012: Frances Ha, Ha, Ha

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Greta Gerwig is Frances Ha at the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Greta Gerwig is Frances Ha at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Greta Gerwig deserved a great script. And boy, did she get one.

Gerwig, a singular talent that is continuously wasted in supporting roles as "the funny best friend," has at last found the perfect part. As the lead in Frances Ha, Gerwig scores with the female comedic performance of the year as a late-20s optimist who dances through life—quite literally.

Frances is a dancer. Well, not really. Yes, she works for a dance company. Yes, she practices her moves alongside a troupe of professionals. But no, she's not really that good. But you can't stop watching her, just like this movie that explores love, maturity, friendship, failure and redemption; but who's to say which order they're supposed to come in?

Gerwig's champion is writer-director Noah Baumbach, who gave the actress one of her earliest successes in Greenberg alongside Ben Stiller. But Frances Ha is Gerwig's Annie Hall. It practically defines a generation and is luminous in black and white, which was a very smart choice from Baumbach.

You'll want to include Frances Ha on your must-see list this fall.