Saturday, May 2, 2020

Movie with Abe: Saint Frances

Saint Frances
Directed by Alex Thompson
Released February 28, 2020

Adulthood can be a trying time of transition for many. Especially in an age of omnipresent social media, the accomplishments of others are shared widely and frequently, putting pressure to have checked off boxes by a certain age, like having a successful career, getting married, and having one or more babies. Those who haven’t gotten there might feel personally satisfied, but then being asked questions from curious friends or prying parents can be irritating and unsettling. Taking stock of what someone has achieved in comparison to those around them is rarely a productive exercise, and it can lead to a true sense of being stuck.

Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) meets Jace (Max Lipchitz) at a party and immediately likes him because he, like her, works as a server at a restaurant. Recommended by a friend who is moving out of town, Bridget goes to meet Maya (Charin Alvarez) and Annie (Lily Mojekwu) and interview to be the nanny for their daughter Frances (Ramoda Edith Williams). Bridget quickly learns that Frances knows how to get what she wants, and the two slowly build a rapport as Bridget shows her that they can have fun together and Frances eases up on her troublemaking antics. When she’s not working, unsure of what she wants for her future, Bridget navigates developments in her relationship with Jace.

This film’s title is a reference to Bridget’s rejection of the faith in which she was raised, a fact she too quickly and casually admits when she first meets Maya and Annie and comments on their religious artwork. It’s also applicable to Frances and the way she conducts herself, telling Bridget to leave the stroller behind on a walk to the park and then insisting that she carry her once she gets tired. This film simultaneously charts Bridget’s journey towards understanding the value of family that she builds with Frances and the gentler of her two mothers, Maya, and her own failure to communicate what she needs and feels with someone who genuinely cares about her.

O’Sullivan, who serves as star and screenwriter, is a true breakout, playing Bridget as a genuine protagonist who doesn’t put much effort into what she does, including making sure to be on time for her nannying job, and who every so often gets called out for not reaching her potential. Williams is charming and hilarious, and the two complement each other superbly. The rest of the cast, particularly Lipchitz, contribute well, aiding this humor-filled story to feel truly relatable and poignant. It’s an enjoyable, inviting experience that features rich characters in a relatively ordinary setup that manages to find all the originality it needs.


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