Hannah Takes the Stairs

Hannah Takes the Stairs
Realism has rarely felt as mannered as it does in this Chicago-set offering from ‘mumblecore’ linchpin, Joe Swanberg, in which the myriad sexual adventures of irksome indie chick Hannah (Greta Gerwig) are captured in earthy, almost vulgar detail. Filmed with a tiny crew (but without a script) on juddering, hand-held digital video, there’s certainly something amiable about the cluttered, communal vibe on show, but where these techniques may have had their financial advantages, here is a film which achieves little more than its meagre means will allow for. One key problem is that the intended air of blunt naturalism is mired in the actors’ awkward habit of playing to the camera, and while there’s an interesting discordance between the banal (really banal) dialogue and the characters’ internal emotions, it’s never enough to establish any sensitivity or social pertinence beyond the trifling tiffs which are playing out on screen.

By: David Jenkins


Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday January 9 2009
Duration: 84 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joe Swanberg
Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Kent Osborne
Cast: Greta Gerwig
Andrew Bujalski
Mark Duplass
Kent Osborne
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