16. Frances Ha
Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Patrick Heusinger
Release Date: May 17
For a certain sect of independent film lovers, a new Noah Baumbach project is an immediate cause for excitement. As a director, his credits include 2010's underrated, Ben Stiller-led dramedy Greenberg and the even better 2006 gem The Squid and the Whale; as a screenwriter, Baumbach teamed with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). That's not exactly a flimsy resume.
That means his latest directorial effort, Frances Ha, must be really exceptional, since it's receiving the best reviews of Baumbach's career so far. Starring his real-life girlfriend, and indie film stalwart, Greta Gerwig, the black-and-white Frances Ha revolves around the titular character, a dreamer who's striving for bigger things while trying not to simply "exist" in New York City.
Film critic Cole Smithey claims that, with this picture, Baumbach "officially takes over Woody Allen's mantle as New York's representative auteur of quirky romantic comedy." A lofty statement, sure, but not as hyperbolic as one might think.