It turns out that prioritizing dialogue over story, pacing, and overall cohesiveness actually makes for a pretty good movie. In the 2012 independent film, Frances Ha, characters walk around, talk, and pursue seemingly no established goal without any real external conflict; it’s missing everything that makes a story a … story.
There’s a girl, Frances, whom wants to be a dancer, a successful friend who is unsatisfied with her success, and privileged friends who are, of course, artists. As an added bonus, Frances Ha is beautifully shot and colored; New York City looks best in black and white. The film is slow and calm and never exactly pushes viewers to the edge with suspense. In the end, with the exception of the titular character’s moderate success towards a slightly elevated status quo, the story ends extremely close to where it was at the start of the picture. What really draws the audience into films like this one is the smart, compelling, situational dialogue. It feels so real and reminds us of the kind of conversations we have between the major hurdles of the day. Imagine the stuff we talk about when we’re lying in bed, eating dinner, or doing laundry with a friend or loved one.
That’s more or less the gist of “Mumblecore.” A niche genre of films for people to enjoy watching a lineup of colorful characters mumble their way through roughly ninety minutes or more.