Very much like Girls on HBO, and while it took me a little over a season to warm up to Hannah Horvath, it only took me about an hour to come around to Frances (Greta Gerwig). Difficult for me to connect to this character early on and for similar reasons: she’s pathologically unwilling to take responsibility for herself, and it’s hard to sympathize with that because she doesn’t really have to struggle, and she knows it. As one character says, “The only people who can afford to be artists in New York are rich.” She, like a few of the others in the film, has the comfort of knowing she has a fallback position if playing the starving artist doesn’t pan out.
I wanted to throttle her half the time, but there’s also a touching side of the story involving her relationship with her roommate, her inability to confide how lonely and out of her depth she really feels. Her excess quirks seem to be a defense mechanism against how inferior she feels around her peers who have it together. Or at least they seem to have it together. There’s a late scene that suggests her estranged friend, whom she longs for/resents/envies, may also be putting on a front to hide her own unhappiness. I guess we all do to an extent.
I came around to liking this film towards the end, though never to loving it. There’s still the fact that if I had to live with Frances for more than 86 minutes, I really might have throttled her.