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IFC Films Lands Baumbach's Black-and-White Gerwig Vehicle 'Frances Ha'

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by Anne Thompson
September 20, 2012 4:25 PM
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Great Gerwig in "Frances Ha."

IFC Films is acquiring all North and Latin American rights to Noah Baumbach’s "Frances Ha," which the filmmaker co-wrote with his star and muse, Mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig. She has received glowing reviews for the film, which debuted at Telluride followed by Toronto and now, New York. Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver and Michael Zegen co-star. IFC has also acquired out of the fall fests Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and Neil Jordan's vampire thriller "Byzantium."

Baumbach produced "Frances Ha" with Lila Yacoub, Scott Rudin, and Rodrigo Teixeira, with Fernando Loureiro and Lourenço Sant' Anna executive producing for RT Features.

Here's the synposis:

Frances (Gerwig) lives in New York, but she doesn't really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she's not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren’t really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. FRANCES HA is a moderncomic fable that explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption.

Here's a sampling of fest reviews:

The NYT:  “A fleet-footed, black-and-white New York story that turns self-consciousness into an exalted form of authenticity.”

THR: “An exhilarating black-and-white New York serio-comedy from Noah Baumbach with a stellar star turn by co-writer Greta Gerwig. One of Baumbach’s most accessible and joyous works, it marks an exciting new period in the filmmaker’s oeuvre and one that will hopefully yield many more collaborations with the endearing and charming Greta Gerwig.  This is unquestionably her defining performance to date.”

Variety:  “An affectionate, stylishly black-and-white portrait of a still-unfledged Gotham gal. With Baumbach's help, Gerwig seems to have found the right vessel for her voice, capturing the spirit of a generation in a film whose appeal should resonate well beyond the demographic it depicts.”

The Playlist:  "Loose, limber and driven by a fierce energy and staccato/pause rhythm we haven't seen previously from this filmmaker, Noah Baumbach's sublime "Frances Ha" is a fresh and vivacious near-reinvention of the director/writer's comedic milieu."

TOH: "Gerwig is a consistently watchable screen presence, even if she only rarely lands films deserving of her pleasingly awkward charisma. Baumbach is an able director, of course, but one gets the sense that he's lazily babysitting here, helming a script that's too specific to 20-something hipster ennui for him to have had much of a hand in it. The drawback: this story has been told so many times in only mildly differing forms, and in this case with little if anything new to add to the firmament.

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