10 Must-See Indie Films Like Frances Ha

By Romey Norton
Published: June 2, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
10 Movies like Frances Ha you must watch
Greta Gerwig in 'Frances Ha' (Credit to RT Features)

Frances Ha is the 2012 comedy-romance film directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver, and Mickey Sumner – the movie gained a lot of supporters, so I’ve put together 10 equally fascinating and similar movies like it. 

The story follows a New York woman who doesn’t have an apartment and apprentices for a dance company, even though she is not a dancer, and throws herself into her lifelong dream. Looking for an apartment and a stable partner, we watch our protagonist try to live her best life. What makes this film stand out is that it reverts to the old Hollywood days and is filmed in black and white. The film is also shot mainly on location, including California and Paris. 

Lady Bird (2017)

Greta Gerwig wrote the screenplay and directed this film, with an angst-ridden protagonist played by Saoirse Ronan. It’s not as lighthearted as Frances Ha, but Lady Bird is excellent.

Falling into the drama genre more than rom-com, this film sees a rebellious teenager thinking she has it all figured out when she doesn’t. Gerwig plays with the feeling of belonging and not belonging and navigating relationships around us. 

Very Good Girls (2013)

Two teenagers (Elizabeth Olsen, and Dakota Fanning) make a pact to lose their virginity before college, but they both fall for the same artist, threatening their lifelong friendship. It’s an excellent film to watch if you’re a fan of strong female leads and coming-of-age storylines.

Life Partners (2014)

This film is a fun chick-flick with themes of friendship, sisterhood, and adolescent vs. adulthood. We watch 29-year-old lawyer Paige and her lesbian best friend Sasha’s friendship turn sour after one of them gets into a serious relationship. 

Submarine (2011)

This film has a wonderful, male solid protagonist Oliver (Craig Roberts), who’s a Welsh teen with many things on his mind. From losing his virginity to keeping his family together, his journey growing up and dealing with adult issues proves life isn’t easy. It’s a great rom-com drama with some excellent acting from the entire cast. 

Mistress America (2015)

With a screenplay written by and starring Greta Gerwig, this comedy-drama film is one to add to your list. The story follows Tracy Fishko, a college freshman, who turns her life upside down when she has to live with her rebellious, wacky future stepsister. Similar to Frances Ha, the film has themes of friendship, relationships, love, and laughter. 

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

A wonderful Wes Anderson classic coming-of-age story sees Sam, a 12-year-old orphan, falling in love with Suzy. The two young love birds run away to a secluded cove on an island, prompting the entire town to begin a search. 

Uptown Girls (2003)

This cute comedy is a sweet coming-of-age story set in glitzy NYC. Molly Gunn has never worked a day in her life, but when all her money is stolen, she is forced to get a job as a nanny. As nanny for precocious Ray, she learns what it means to be an adult while teaching Ray how to be a child.

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)

This French New Wave film is known for being named one of the greatest films directed by a woman, so that’s one reason to watch it. The story follows a young girl called Cleo as she goes on a day-long journey of self-discovery once she develops a doubt that she might have cancer.

Similar to Frances Ha, Cleo is a talented young woman who’s anxiety and worries hold her back. It’s a beautiful, honest film and worth watching. 

Ghost World (2001)

This black comedy is the story of close friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), who slowly drift apart after looking hard at the world and deciding what they really want.

Enid is interested in the offbeat Seymour (Steve Buscemi), and Rebecca focuses on their mutual romantic fixation on Josh (Brad Renfro); the girls’ friendship is forever changed. Both films are about women deciding what they want and trying to achieve their dreams.

Barbie (2023)

This highly anticipated film is making the list as it’s directed and written by our star Greta Gerwig and is sure to be the rom-com drama of the decade. Barbie is having an existential crisis and goes to the real world, discovering she enjoys being among humans. Of course, Ken is there for the fun ride. This film boasts a stellar cast and is certainly one to watch if you’re a fan of Greta Gerwig. 

Do you have any other recommendations for Movies like Frances Ha? Let us know in the comments below.

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