Frances follows its titular character, a 27-year-old aspiring dancer infatuated with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). When Sophie decides to move out of their apartment, Frances' state of bliss comes crashing down. The narrative follows her as she bounces around apartments and cities, looking for a sense of purpose and a sense of place. Frances is -- intentionally! -- a little annoying. Her specific brand of playfulness can grate on people who aren't on her wavelength. But she's also deeply relatable in her not-quite-a-real-person-ness.
But the point of this story is not to explain why Frances Ha is good. It is! You should watch it! Get on Netflix right now! (My hottest Gerwig-Baumbach take is Mistress America is their greater achievement than Frances.) Instead, I'm writing about one very specific scene that has stuck with me. Seriously, I thought about it this week, and not just because I was prepping this piece.
About midway through the film, Frances gets trashed, and her frustration with Sophie and Sophie's banker boyfriend Patch (Patrick Heusinger) erupts in an angry, irrational tirade. The next time we see her she's drunkenly fumbling around her room in the apartment she shares with rich kid hipsters Benji (Michael Zegen) and Lev (Adam! Driver!). Benji finds her rearranging clothes, and they share intimate, if slightly awkward banter. Benji is clearly desperately in love with Frances, but negs her, calling her "undateable." Frances is a little oblivious, more preoccupied with her feud with Sophie than anything Benji is offering, be that noise-canceling headphones or anecdotes how they might end up married one day. Eventually, Frances finishes her puttering and declares, "OK, I'm done. I hope I don't have the spins when I lie down."
And that's when Benji gives her this advice: "Just lay on your back by the edge of the bed. And put one foot on the floor. It helps." He stares at her for a beat before saying, "Good night then."
There's a lot that lingers in his momentary silence, one of which is the ultimate question: "Well, does that trick actually help stop the spins?"