Greta Gerwig Needed Noah Baumbach's Validation To Write Frances Ha

Illustration for article titled Greta Gerwig Needed Noah Baumbach's Validation To Write Frances Ha

I don't think I'd be super off-base if I said that Greta Gerwig was the closest thing our generation has to old-school Diane Keaton; she's flighty and light on-screen, but there's melancholy and intelligence behind it. Her new movie Frances Ha, which she co-wrote with director (and boyfriend) Noah Baumbach, has been touted as the intersection of Girls, Woody Allen and mumblecore. It's received positive reviews.


She spoke to about the film, as well as the snarky media hubbub that often surrounds indie-hearted female-driven movies and TV:

"I just re-read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, and I think that people get really angry when it's women doing it, to be totally honest. There's something that feels threatening about it and they have to be doing something other than being thoughtful. It has to be somehow an exercise in narcissism, because why else would you make anything about women? I think that the violence of the reaction has more to do with something that's not to do with the art."

Gerwig says that if she was left in a room of her own, she may not have written the movie at all.

"He's a man in his 40s and I'm a woman in her 20s, but I feel like, in a way, I wouldn't have written this unless I was writing it with him," she says. "It felt like he almost gave me permission to tell my story. Or, not my story, but the story of this woman. Because it validated it, because it was outside eyes.

I think if I were left alone I wouldn't have the courage to say, 'I'm going to tell the story of a 27-year-old dancer and her best friend and their money troubles.' That wouldn't feel like enough of a story for me, and it was the fact that he said, 'Oh, I think this can be really good, and I have a lot of empathy for this.' That allowed me to feel more magnanimous towards my generation than I might be otherwise, because I can be just as critical as anyone else."

That's a shame.


Image via Getty


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By context (of the article, not the context Jez applied to the interview), it seemed clear to me that she was saying his validation helped her not because he's a man, but because he was an outsider to her idea. She literally says that if she were left alone she wouldn't have told this story because it wouldn't have felt like enough, but he convinced her it was a worthwhile story to tell because he was less critical about her generation than she is.