Category: Dear Frankie Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 3, 2005 | Publication: La City Beat | Author: Reviewer
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So much of our sense of contemporary Glasgow has come from the films of Ken Loach that one initially reacts to first-time feature director Shona Auerbach and writer Andrea Gibb as interlopers. However, Dear Frankie is neither facsimile of, nor poor cousin to, Loach’s more obvious social commentary. It is a romantic comedy whose high-concept conceit doesn’t descend into antics or cheap sentiment. Single parent Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) lives in the port town with her eccentric mother and deaf nine-year-old son, Frankie (Jack McElhone). Her itinerant existence precariously balances a past she’s trying to escape with a better future she hopes to provide her boy. She’s invented a seaman father for Frankie and maintained the illusion with letters postmarked from international ports of call. But when “his” ship pulls into the harbor, she has to scramble and hire a stranger (Gerard Butler) to fill the role. It all sounds a bit precious, but the filmmakers and cast plunge into the story and find depth, humor, and compassion in human frailty … as well as some genuinely effective plot twists. Auerbach has an adroit sense of place and finds visual and dramatic poetry in material that could easily have been merely arresting and earnest. (Leonard Klady) (Pacific’s ArcLight, Landmark’s NuWilshire)