Noah Baumbach (USA, 1969) debuted with
Kicking And Screaming (1995).
Mr Jealousy (1997) is an attempt at screwball comedy.
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
The black and white Frances Ha (2012) is a charming portrait of a restless spirit.
Frances and Sophie are best friends and housemates in New York.
Frances' boyfriend asks Frances to move in with him and she'd like to, but
she does not want to betray Sophie.
Her boyfriend is so disappointed that he breaks up but
Frances is happy with Sophie.
Frances remarks that they behave like
a lesbian couple that doesn't have sex.
Frances is a struggling dancer. She asks her choreographer
for opportunities to teach.
Sophie is told by her friend Lisa of an opportunity to move to a better
neighborhood and decides to seize it. Frances however cannot afford the price.
She gets a tax rebate and invites a male friend, Lev, to dinner, but her credit
card gets denied and she has to run all over town to find an ATM and gets cash.
Lev, a sculptor, takes her home. Lev shares a flat with Sophie's friend Benji, an aspiring screenwriter.
She cooks and dances for them, and they invite her to move in with them.
She can't really afford it but is counting on a dancing job.
Unfortunately, after a performance, her choreographer breaks the news that
the company will not need her for that job.
That evening Frances goes out with Sophie, who attended the performance with
her boyfriend Patch, a yuppie, and tries to be her usual self but Sophie has changed
and doesn't enjoy the old routine. Frances gets drunk and angry and, after
an argument with Sophie, leaves alone.
She tells Benji that she has to move out.
It's almost Christmas.
She puts all her furniture in storage
and then flies back home to her parents.
She attends church with them, helps her mom to decorate their Christmas tree, and, for a few days, returns to a simpler suburban lifestyle.
Back in New York, a fellow dancer, Rachel, lets her stay with her for a few weeks. Rachel is much colder than Sophie and is annoyed by Frances' extroverted persona.
Rachel is a professional dancer whereas Frances is only an apprentice.
Rachel invites Frances to a dinner with her friends and family.
By accident some of them know Patch and Sophie, so she learns through them
that Patch has been appointed director of research for Asian market by his
firm and transferred to Tokyo; and that Sophie has quit her job to move with him.
Frances, who has been boasting of knowing Sophie better than anyone else,
Rachel is embarrassed by Frances' performance.
She even decides on the fly to spend a weekend in Paris just because a friend
of Rachel, a lawyer, mentioned it.
She doesn't have the money to pay for the trip but charges a credit card, knowing that she won't be able to pay for it.
Due to jet lag, she spends the first day entirely in bed.
She tries to contact the lawyer but he doesn't return her calls.
Sophie calls her to say goodbye and tells her that she will keep a blog.
Frances lies that she is starting her own dance company and that she has a place to stay.
She flies back, having largely wasted her weekend in Paris.
Her choreographer offers her an office position, knowing that she needs money,
but Frances proudly turns it down lying that she has other opportunities.
She moves to the college town where she studied, a town in the countryside,
and takes humble jobs to pay her credit card debt.
One job is to be a waitress at a benefit party for rich people
at her old college. Frances is shocked to see Sophie and Patch at the party.
They are in town for a funeral and Sophie thought of dropping by at her old
Frances learns that Sophie and Patch are engaged.
Sophie, clearly unhappy, gets drunk and embarrasses Patch.
After fighting with Patch, Sophie asks Frances to sleep in her dormitory room.
Sophie tells Frances that she had a miscarriage, that she hates Tokyo and that
she wants to leave Patch.
Frances moves back to New York, again as a struggling choreographer.
All her friends as well as her old choreographer attend her first piece.
Sophie and Patch are married.
Frances moves into her own apartment. Her name is too long for the mailbox so
she shortens it to
While We're Young (2014)
Mistress America (2015), co-directed with Greta Gerwig,
The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
Marriage Story (2019) is an almost documentary, surgical analysis of what a
Charlie introduces his wife Nicole with an affectionate description and we learn
that she's a former Hollywood actress but moved to New York to work in his theater.
Then Nicole introduces her husband Charlie,
a theater director.
They have a son.
Despite the nice introductions, we then see them in the office
of a mediator as they are separating.
Charlie is willing to share what he thinks of her, but Nicole is not willing to
listen or to reciprocate and walks out furious.
Nonetheless, Charlie and Nicole have agreed not to hire lawyers to make the separation as painless as possible.
Then we see her acting on the stage of the theater: they are producing an
At the after-event party the actors celebrate that Charlie's play will be
produced on Broadway but also bid farewell to Nicole who is moving back to
Hollywood to act in a comedy.
The story resumes at the Los Angeles house of Nicole's mom where Nicole
moved with her son Henry.
Nicole is not excited about her new role in the television show.
A coworker introduces her to lawyer Nora who seems to be very sympathetic
and understanding. Nicole begins to vent her frustration that Charlie was
so dominating. He also tells Nora that she suspects Charlie cheated on her
with a coworker named Marie-Anne.
Nora convinces Nicole to go through a formal divorce.
Her mother disagrees and likes Charlie.
Charlie arrives to visit, unsuspecting,
happy because he has just been awarded a "genius award".
Charlie is comically served the divorce papers by Nicole's friend Cassie.
Charlie is hurt.
Charlie visits an attorney who warns him that Nora is a tough lawyer and that
he will lose his son if he doesn't fight dirty.
Charlie cannot afford the lawyer's free anyway, so Charlie returns to New York,
convinced that the next weekend his son will come to visit.
Marie-Anne wants to sleep with him again but Charlie is not in the mood.
Nora calls Charlie directly and warns him that, if he doesn't get a lawyer
quickly, he will automatically lose everything that he owns including the son.
And the lawyer has to be based in Los Angeles. So Charlie has to fly back to
He finds out that his wife consulted several lawyers before picking Nora.
Nicole's mother recommends a humane retired lawyer, Bert, who promises to
avoid a vicious fight.
Bert tells him that he has to rent an apartment in Los Angeles.
During Halloween celebrations Henry reveals that Nicole has no intention of returning to New York.
An angry Charlie calls Nicole but Nicole shouts back that she read his emails
and found out about his affair with Marie-Anne.
That night Nicole sleeps with a man she meets at a party.
Bert advises Charlie to settle out of court, but Nicole has no intention to
return to New York and wants to keep Henry in Los Angeles, so there can be no compromise unless Charlie accepts to leave New York and move to Los Angeles.
Bert advises Charlie to move to Los Angeles. Charlie fires Bert and hires
the vicious and very expensive lawyer Jay.
Nora knows Jay well, and warns Nicole that this is becoming a street fight.
Nora and Jay argue viciously in front of a judge.
The judge appoints an "expert evaluator" to make a decision about Henry.
Nicole surprises Charlie in his new Los Angeles apartment.
She is concerned that the "expert evaluator" will disrupt Henry's life
and wants to find a peaceful solution, but they end up insulting each other.
The "expert evaluator" spends an evening with Charlie and Henry.
Charlie is so nervous that he cuts himself with a knife and she leaves a little
Charlie and Nicole eventually agree on simpler terms and the lawsuit ends
Some time later Charlie arrives in Los Angeles to find his son Henry playing
with Nicole's new boyfriend and Nicole happy with her television career.
Nicole and Henry still live with Nicole's mom.
Charlie is moving to Los Angeles for good so he can stay closer to Henry.
Charlie hears Henry reading something. Charlie realizes that Henry is reading
a description of Charlie himself which she wrote for the mediator but refused to read aloud (at beginning of the film).
Charlie continues reading and almost starts crying.
Nicole is watching from the other room and she too is almost crying.
Charlie and Nicole get on friendlier terms and she gladly lets Charlie have
Henry on a night when it should be her turn.