Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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Release date: May 17 (Limited)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Esper
Pros: Critics have been crushing on “Frances Ha” ever since its premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, and with good reason: Baumbach’s loose, funny, black-and-white character study is at once infused with the spirit of Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and the French New Wave, and is the most generous showcase yet for Gerwig’s gawky, infectious charms as a leading lady. Baumbach scored an Oscar nod for his 2005 breakthrough feature “The Squid and the Whale,” and this is his most well-received effort since then.
Cons: This is arguably the hippest, youngest-skewing film Baumbach has yet made, and while critics have fallen in love, it’s hard to imagine a large proportion of Academy members really understanding or caring about the exploits of Gerwig’s boho twentysomething misfit. And with other spring and summer indies like “Before Midnight” and “Blue Jasmine” already far ahead of “Frances” in the awards conversation – and with more built-in Academy appeal – it’s hard to see it making much headway.