It is almost exactly one year to the day since I saw Joe Swanberg’s HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS for the first time. I wrote about it here, doing my best to avoid expressing my love too loudly for fear of creating unreasonable expectations (per Mr. Swanberg's request). But I didn't have to worry about that, for I knew that HANNAH would win people over, no matter how much baggage they had going into it. This past March, at SXSW, on a rainy Sunday night, I had the pleasure of sitting inside a packed, positively electric Paramount Theatre for the film's world premiere. My hunch was right. HANNAH rocked the house. And now comes today, when this magical little movie gets a legitimate theatrical release at the IFC Center. Whether you know Joe or not, if you’re in some small way invested in the art and craft and business of independent filmmaking, this is a truly important event.
The best part of this whole situation however, has nothing to do with the historical relevance of this occasion. The fact remains that HANNAH is one of the best films of 2007, period. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it might very well be the finest depiction of early 20s confusion that I've ever seen. Greta Gerwig's Hannah is a character that will simultaneously infuriate, electrify, challenge, intimidate, and make viewers melt. Many females will hate her. They will hate her because they will feel like they are looking in a mirror. Others will hate her because Hannah is the type of girl that makes their boyfriends swoon. The unflinching frankness with which Swanberg and Gerwig realize this character is difficult to watch at times, for it is excruciatingly realistic. Watching HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS made me think back on all of "those" girls, those beautifully demonic forces who sent me into an insecure tailspin without even knowing what they were doing. They just wanted attention, while I wanted their impossible heart.
This really is a genuine event. I feel like it's fuckin' Christmas Eve or something. I can't recommend this film highly enough. Go see HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS. Do it, do it, do it!