Jake Mosher, E23 Staffer

“Finding Frances”, the series finale of TV series “Nathan for You”, showed at the Missouri Theatre as part of the True/False film festival. It originally premiered on Comedy Central on November 9. 2017, but after True/False asked series creator Nathan Fielder if they could show it at the festival, the finale made its big screen premiere.

The Missouri Theatre has a capacity of 1,200 people, and the theatre was near full. The first of two showings, the excitement of the crowd was evident. Even though it had already premiered, it still felt like opening night.

Going into the film, my knowledge on “Nathan for You” was limited. I had seen and enjoyed a few clips on YouTube, but I never went back to watch any full episodes of the actual show. Well, it doesn’t matter if you are Nathan Fielder’s biggest fan or someone who is clueless about the show, “Finding Frances” is amazing on every level.

The “documentary” follows Bill Heath, a Bill Gates impersonator from a previous episode, and his journey to find his long lost love, Frances. Nathan becomes intrigued by this story of love and offers to help Bill find her and get closure. The story that follows is full of love, regret, laughs and many moments of awkwardness.

Very similar to the many episodes that preceded it, “Finding Frances” is flat out hilarious. In the Q&A afterwards, Nathan said that the humor of the show is found in the human moments. This nails what makes the film so special.

I found myself laughing at every interaction between Bill and Nathan. From Bill’s stare that always went on a few seconds too long to Nathan simply not knowing how to respond to Bill, their relationship was full of endearing, funny moments.

Photographed March 1, 2019 by Jake Mosher of the Finding Frances screening. The screening took place at the Missouri Theatre and featured a Q/A with the creator, Nathan Fielder.

There were a few typical “Nathan for You” situations as well. The staging of a fake sequel to “Mud” to gain access to a local high school was one of the best moments of the film. This levity helped balance the more serious aspects of the documentary.

The serious themes of “Finding Frances” is what separates it from the rest of the series. Unlike the episodes that precede it, it does not just play for laughs but attempts to find emotions the audience can relate to.

The film spends a lot of time focusing on Bill’s feelings for Frances. It touches on the mistakes he made in their relationship, and the deep regret he feels for not marrying her. These feelings of regret and love are universal and provide the film a different tone then the rest of “Nathan for You”.

Also unlike previous episodes, the audience gets some insight into Nathan’s life and feelings as well. Bill’s choice to leave Frances for a dream in Hollywood resonates with Nathan.

In an unusual turn of events, Nathan ends up meeting with an escort named Maci. His connection with Maci grows, and despite the monetary charge to just have a conversation with her, he meets with her multiple times in the film.

He even appears to catch feelings for her. At one point, he directly relates his life to Bill’s, saying that with so much time spent with work, he misses out on meaningful human interaction. In one of the most uncomfortable scenes I have ever watched, Nathan and Maci awkwardly kiss for what feels like an eternity.

This relationship complicates the entire film. In the final scene, Maci asks him if they could turn the cameras off. When Nathan asks her if she wants them to be turned off, she responds with, “I feel like that defeats the purpose.” She says that “the purpose is to film something, right?”. Nathan then stares into the camera.

What is the purpose of this film? Or their relationship? Is the whole thing a bit to gain laughs or was Nathan actually invested in that relationship?

These questions are what make “Finding Frances” so special. The film fits the title of the festival, “True/False”. Is Nathan playing a character or is he actually feeling what he tells us?

I believe the answer to this lies in what he said in the Q&A about finding humor in the most human moments of life. I think everything depicted is true. Some of the moments in this film are funny and absurd, but they are innately human.

Nathan might have caught feelings for an escort, but he knows how that that statement alone is funny, and he plays that to his advantage.   

“Finding Frances” is a hilarious, heartfelt end to “Nathan for You”, a show that I never assumed I could relate to an emotional level. Unlike most films at True/False, it is available to purchase on Amazon Prime now! I highly recommend you go buy it.

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