Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.

With Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach writes a love letter to his current girlfriend, Greta Gerwig, who stars as the title character and co-wrote the script (with Baumbach).

Frances is an New York City dancer apprentice who really loves her best friend (Mickey Sumner …the daughter of Sting!) and has to move between apartments a lot. The movie follows her often-failed attempts to settle into some kind of groove—which is hard to do when you’re doing things like taking an impromptu trip to Paris after getting drunk at a dinner party.

Shot in black and white, the film has a nice, natural feel to it, and it’s propelled by Gerwig’s quirky performance. The comparisons to vintage Woody Allen are well-deserved, with Gerwig proving that she is much better in smaller fare (this and Damsels in Distress) than big Hollywood productions (No Strings Attached, Arthur).

Frances Ha is now playing at the Camelot Theatres (2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs; 760-325-6565) and the Century Theatres at The River (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).