We've been waiting for this moment since we came up with it before knowing it would ever happen: the premiere of the new Noah Baumbach film, starring and co-written by girlfriend Greta Gerwig. Since each is accomplished in a way that should be way more celebrated (instead of inaccurately categorized as mumblecore), Frances Ha, the writer/director's and actor/writer/director's collaborative effort, should be obvious.
The two met after Gerwig starred in Baumbach's Damsels in Distress in 2011. Frances Ha, co-starring the incorrigable and super talented Mickey Sumner and Adam Driver and screening today at IFC in New York, is a continuation of the mood of this and other Baumbach hits like The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding—stressful, dark, almost nihilistic, yet somehow cheerful throughout.
This genre is more and more often parodied and imitated, but the best work by the originators (Wes Anderson, Whit Stillman, and Baumbach are in this group, although the style is most heavily influenced by the French and Eastern European New Wave of the 1960s, Woody Allen, and John Cassavetes) doesn't default on the twee side, sticking fast to a cinema vérité nod, too often discarded in the face of overt stylization.