5. Frances Ha (2012)
Long before Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig was scripting indies with her partner Noah Baumbach. Their 2012 film, Frances Ha, has become a cult classic thanks to its relatable portrait of the bewildering life stage that is young adulthood. Shot it sumptuous black and white, the movie traces the highs and lows of the friendship between Frances (a carefree and impulsive Gerwig) and Sophie (the more restrained realist Mickey Sumner). What sets Frances Ha apart is that the women’s platonic relationship is likened to a courtship: they share a bed; they read to each other; and their local barista thinks they’re “like a lesbian couple that doesn’t have sex any more”. They are each other’s person; it’s only when Sophie starts getting serious with her boyfriend that her friendship with Frances disintegrates. Through their characterisation of the two leads, the film-makers subvert the traditional hierarchy that positions romance above companionship. With its infectiously freewheeling spirit, Frances Ha shows that friendship can be a love story.