Gerwig is twenty-something Frances, failing to make it as a dancer in the Big Apple, fruitless in love (or “undateable” as she describes herself), and helplessly watching as her former best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) goes off and finds a man with marriage beckoning, putting their closer-than-close relationship on the rocks.
Real-life couple Gerwig and Baumbach (Greenberg) tell a story that revels in life’s minutiae: the slight conversations that mean so much, the revelations and moments that prove life-changing in unexpected ways. It is a sublimely well observed and moving account as Frances ambles through her life, her aimless direction concealing realisations that are coalescing underneath.
It is also extremely funny, not just because of the finely crafted dialogue, but also through the daft decisions Frances occasionally makes (a trip from the US east coast to Europe provides plenty of the latter).
Gerwig, who made a name for herself with mumblecore movies Hannah Takes The Stairs and Baghead, steps out from this indie shadow, and emerges as a stunning talent. And Baumbach, who mined New York upper class familial disharmony so well in his breakout debut The Squid And The Whale, again demonstrates his gift for noticing what is at the same time absurd yet profoundly human.
Good for: Seeing a bona fide classic in the making.
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner | 15 | 86mins | Out now