COMIC DRAMA; M, 1hr 37min
STARRING: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried
Boxed in: Stiller and Watts
Snugly entrenched in their 40s, Cornelia and Josh Srebnick (Watts and Stiller) are techno-savvy but creatively and socially stalled. A traditionalist documentary maker, he has been working on a project for 10 years, while she, unable to have children, is surrounded by women who do (Marina Dizzia and Adam Horovitz, aka the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock, are Srebnick besties). The earthy and organic Jamie and Darby (Driver and Seyfried), on the other hand, are 20 years younger and correspondingly free. He’s all kinds of cool and seemingly worships Josh; she concocts arty-crafty ice-cream and keeps a caged chook in their loft.
Their unlikely new friends’ go-for-it aesthetic is a shot at reinvention for the Srebnicks. (Hip-hop! Bicycles! A shamanic puking ceremony!) Josh and Jamie begin filming a doco together, the older man lending his expertise to an acolyte who might not be as ingenuous as he looks… The beauty of Frances Ha writer-director Noah Baumbach’s scintillating, astutely voiced screenplay is the ease with which its breezy layers peel away to a purposeful understanding of the susceptibility of middle age and the compulsive fixation with achievement that grips us all.