A modern comic fable, Frances Ha (Cert 15) showcases the comic skills of Greta Gerwig, current squeeze of director Noah Baumbach, best known for The Squid and the Whale.
Frances is a kind of New York version of our own Miranda Hart, clumsy, hopelessly dreamy and self-confessedly “undateable”.
She is 27 (or as someone rather rudely remarks, “You seem a lot older but not as grown-up”) without any permanent place to live or job - she is hanging on to ambitions to be a dancer.
We meet her with best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner, Sting’s daughter) who cheerfully describe themselves as “‘like a lesbian couple that doesn’t have sex anymore”. But they grow apart as Sophie moves on and Frances becomes increasingly lonely and directionless.
Beautifully shot in black and white, it has echoes of Woody Allen or the French new wave.
We’re clearly meant to find the scatty, sunny Frances adorable but as the film drifts on she teeters on the edge of being irritating with her wrong-headedness, tendancy to babble embarrasingly at social occasions and her total self-obsession.
But Gerwig’s winning performance just about keeps you on her side and hoping things will look up. In that regard the film captures that stage in life when people are caught between the carefree post-student days and having to face up to the realities of adult life.
The current vogue is for angst-ridden superheroes and Hugh Jackson has it in spades in Wolverine (Cert 12A). In this, his sixth outing in the Adamantium claws of the hirsute Marvel Comics superhero, director James Mangold draws inspiration from a 1982 comic book storyline set in Japan to strip back the testosterone-fuelled action in favour of soul-searching and romance.