Two films about young women this week, one at the cinema, if you dare, and one to stream, if you don’t. Saint Frances requires the daring and I’d dare, if I were you, as it’s splendid and funny and tender and involving and taboo-busting, and if you do contract a deadly virus, it’ll be worth it. Only kidding. Of course it won’t. But, on the other hand, the government is currently encouraging us to venture into town to save Pret A Manger and I think this has more to say than a baguette. Or one of those pricey salads.
Saint Frances is written by and stars Kelly O’Sullivan who started working on the script after seeing Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird and you can see Gerwig’s influence all over it — the wry naturalism and episodic storytelling is very Gerwig-ian — but it’s still its own person. O’Sullivan plays Bridget who is a college dropout and worries about not being an ‘impressive’ person. She waits tables and is not married and she doesn’t have kids and she doesn’t know if she wants a proper career or to be married or have kids. She Googles questions such as ‘I’m 34 and have no idea what to do with my life.’ She then hooks up with a younger fella and faces an unwanted pregnancy at around the same time as she lands a summer job as a nanny. Her charge is six-year old Frances (a sensational Ramona Edith Williams), the daughter of a lesbian couple who have just had a new baby. She is not a natural for the job. ‘I didn’t know you liked kids,’ says a friend. ‘I don’t,’ she replies.
Ah, I know what this is, you are thinking.