Coming-of-age films are great. It’s very rare you meet someone who doesn’t love at least one coming-of-age film – this is because we all resonate with them in some kind of way. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or what you do, growing up is never easy – for anyone – and these films are there to tell us that this is okay.
But what most coming-of-age films don’t tell us is that growing up never ends. Growing up doesn’t end when you get over the boy drama, leave high school and stop arguing with your parents – growing up is a constant wheel that just keeps on turning.
This is why Frances Ha is so special, because it approaches things that other films like it fail to. We are often led to believe that by a certain age we should have it all figured out, but it tells us that this isn’t always going to be the case. The people you write your dreams with might end up making them come true with someone else, the person thought you were on the same chapter as a few moments ago might end up several pages ahead the next and your forever friends might just become your brunch friends. But despite all that, it’s going to be okay.
The reason this film is so comforting is because Frances feels like a real person. Films based around adulthood usually show us these characters, characters that know where their home is, friends are and – most importantly – who they are, but this is all fiction in the grand scheme of life.
The most prominent theme in Frances Ha is the friendship between Frances and her best friend, Sophie. They went to college together and they planned out every turn with each other, but Sophie’s path changes and it this time it doesn’t involve Frances – leaving her by herself and at a dead end. Losing touch with friends is one of the worst things about adulthood and it’s something that we all know too well. You will find yourself grasping onto the memories that you have with someone while they will be making new ones with someone else, and there’s not really anything you can do about it because life has already gotten in the way.
It becomes clear that Frances feels a little lost. She finds herself in a situation where she doesn’t have her best friend anymore, she doesn’t have a boyfriend, she doesn’t have a stable job and has no clue where life seems to be going. Her life is falling apart while, to her, it feels like the lives of everyone else she knows are just starting to fall together. But the thing that makes Frances really special is that despite all that, she just on keeps dancing through it. Even though it’s a sad situation, at no point does this film feel drowsy or depressing – it’s filled with great music, beautiful black-and-white scenery and silly jokes that will make you smile real big, almost as if to say no matter how many curveballs life throws at us we should never let ourselves take it too seriously. We should all be like Frances.
Frances Ha puts across the message that the road to finding yourself is a constant, never-ending journey. Your journey might be longer than everyone else’s, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Even if you don’t have your dream job yet, even if you don’t have your dream house, it’s ok because along the way you’re going to meet great people who will be there with you at each pit stop. Even though you might feel like these people are happier and more successful than you, none of that matters – because one day they are all going to watch you in awe.
Everything is going to work out, no matter how lost you might feel.