In praise of Greta Gerwig

This post is mainly designed to draw together/point outwards to the various things I’ve written, on this blog and elsewhere, about Greta Gerwig.

When the Oscar nominations came out earlier this week, I was pretty annoyed that Gerwig didn’t receive a nomination in the ‘Direction’ category for Little Women, so I returned to the cinema for a second viewing of the film, then came home and wrote a piece about it. That piece ended up being published, after editing, on The Conversation.

The other three pieces collected below are all about Frances Ha, which Gerwig starred in and co-wrote with Noah Baumbach (who also directed). I’ve included both Frances Ha and Lady Bird on my modules in the past, and I hope to someday write about Lady Bird. (I’m also very fond of Maggie’s Plan.)

I love that moment at the end of Frances Ha (on this blog)

Big cities, early adulthood, friends, cinema, and Frances Ha (on this blog)

Passing Time in Frances Ha (in Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism)

Little Women: Greta Gerwig’s direction creates big emotions and deserved an Oscar (in The Conversation)

 

It’s been a long while since I listened to it, but I found Marc Maron’s ‘WTF’ interview with Gerwig really rewarding. It came back to me when I was watching Little Women at the moment where Amy hands Laurie two of her sketches of him. When he asks where one of them was done, and she replies ‘on the beach’, I’m almost certain that the sound of waves is brought in on the soundtrack, just for a moment, below the music. I think ‘oceanic’ is a good metaphor for how emotion functions in Gerwig’s work. Individual moments are enriched by their connection with other moments and memories. This is one of the main things I was going after in my piece in The Conversation, but what space didn’t allow me to articulate is the way that Little Women‘s structure approximates how emotion and memory work in our lives. One of my friends put this very eloquently, pointing out that we often don’t experience moments in isolation: they’re filtered through other moments where we were in the same place, or doing a similar thing or perhaps they even give us the feeling of embodying our parents when we were their age. These thoughts on film, time and experience me think that a Gerwig-Linklater collaboration would be a beautiful thing!