However, the girls' relationship has hit a crossroads, with Sophie moving out to continue her successful career as a publisher. Frances, on the other hand, remains an apprentice at the same dance company she's interned with since graduation. Finding herself constantly moving from apartment to another due to her frail financial position, each step is one further away from the heart of the city, and ultimately a regression back to her youth. Struggling to become a fully functioning member of society, Frances soon finds her peculiar ways becoming less and less endearing with her rapidly maturing friends, ultimately finding herself back where she began.
A departure from the pompous and downright unlikeable protagonists of his previous films, Baumbach has managed to fashion an impeccable portrait of post-graduate malady. Tumbling gracefully between the low-key aesthetic of mumblecore and the jocularity and inescapable intelligence of Whit Stillman, Frances Ha also owes more than a slight debt to the liberating films of the French New Wave - a fact further emphasised by Frances' spontaneous, yet disheartening weekend trip to Paris. Distilling the essence of life into the limited square footage of a monochrome Manhattan apartment, Baumbach's use of nostalgic black and white and objective realism culminates in a wistful character piece that feels like a documentary about the pains of growing up in today's material-driven society.
A film that both of its creators can be incredibly proud of, Baumbach's Frances Ha has aligned two of America's most promising independent talents and created perhaps one of the most endearing and affable indies to have emerged over recent years. A tender, yet hilarious coming-of-age drama, Frances Ha is a light-hearted love song for adults who've never truly developed past their adolescence.
The 2013 Berlin Film Festival runs from 7-17 February. For more of our Berlinale coverage, simply follow this link.