Criterion Month: How Love Is in the Look in ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, and ‘Frances Ha’

This essay is by our guest writer, Marina Vuotto.

“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it…but it’s a party, and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining…and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual, but because…that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them.”

Frances Ha’s personal definition of love is so delicately observed, so personal yet universal, so accurate in its specificity, that it has a poetic quality to it; Greta Gerwig’s delivery, as she fumbles for the right words, gesticulates and looks around for validation, gives body to Frances’ attempt to explain something unexplainable, to articulate a feeling that’s powerful yet wordless. Her way of giving the speech has that tone of a friend trying to explain what they mean, only to realize that there’s no need to finish their sentence because you’ve understood it despite their inability to express it precisely; because you know them, because you’ve felt it.

And yet, where words fail, cinema steps in: when it’s truly great, not only does it substitute explaining with showing, but it’s able to recreate a feeling to immerse you in it and make you live it. And as difficult as recreating that particular feeling – that thing – is, three films get pretty close: Before Sunrise, The Royal Tenenbaums, and, of course, Frances Ha. In each one of them, the most powerful love scenes are played out through a quiet exchange of looks, which brings the secret world Frances talks about to life.

Continue reading “Criterion Month: How Love Is in the Look in ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, and ‘Frances Ha’”

VIDEO: Modern Love, a Tribute to Running in Film

We here at Much Ado About Cinema are very obsessed with Frances Ha. It’s literally in the banner and branding of our website – Greta Gerwig running down the streets of New York without a care in the world. Because we all have this universal love for it, I thought there would be no better choice than to tribute one of the most memorable scenes in the film with this month’s video edit.

So here you have it, a tribute to running scenes in film set to “Modern Love”! Freely roam in pure, free-spirited bliss, then follow us on @muchadocinema on twitter for more content like this coming soon!

The Failure of Youthful Idealism in Greta Gerwig’s Screenwriting

For many of us, the world sets unrealistic expectations of being materially or academically successful at a young age, leaving behind a lingering emptiness for the rest of our lives when we fail to achieve that in our 20s, maybe even our 30s. It’s the heavy wistfulness of wishing you were more, and the resonating regret because you weren’t. So we keep on chasing an ideal just within reach, but never winning the race. 

The films co-written by Greta Gerwig explore what it’s like to be trapped in this liminality, exposing the futility of dedicating your efforts to create a place you can call your own, only to look around and realise it doesn’t exist. Continue reading “The Failure of Youthful Idealism in Greta Gerwig’s Screenwriting”