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Dear Frankie (2005) review (blog)

Category: Dear Frankie Reviews
Article Date: January 21, 2008 | Publication: | Author: Editor

Posted by: stagewomanjen

Devout Frankie is one of those rare gems (somehow actually written and filmed) that come along occasionally and restore your trust in motion pictures as an art form. First off itís just a unrepentant tear-jerker, and by the end of it Iíd leaked enough duct juice to make a margarita.
I practically had a migraine. I imagine there are those critics who would attack it as being overly sentimental or a button pusher, but the thing is, itís nice to have those buttons pushed once in a while and this film is so lovely and uplifting that anyone who could baby-sit through it without losing a drop or two, I wouldnít trust in public with a plastic fork. Iíve been a great admirer of Emily Mortimer for some time and Iíd looked forward to the film (having only scene a few trailers) just because of her. One of those actresses blessed with that depend of inner strength, she chews up the Scottish scenery. Years before, her character, Lizzy left her abusive husband, bringing along her son Frankie as a toddler and her curmudgeonly, chain-smoking mother. As the boy reached school age she invented him a father - a merchandiser mariner bound to sail the high seas.
As the claim suggests, Frankie begins writing letters to him and Lizzie would answer them using doctored stamp. Something she did out of a bit of selfishness, as Frankie is deaf and the letters were her chance to hear her sonís thoughts. The three are forced to move from town to town whenever Frankieís real don (who looked for them endlessly via newspaper missing persons adverts) would get too close. The story begins as they start anew in Glasgow, but things take a tricky turn when the fictitious ship Lizzie had used in her letters turns out to be real and soon after turns up in port. Desperate not to make her sons illusions crushed, Lizzie goes on a hunt for a man willing to mystify as the boys father for a day in exchange for money. The trailer suggested that the film would become something of a screwball comedy at this point, but thankfully it plays out much differently.
So fond am I of this film, Iím abominate to give away any more plot points. Jack McLehone is perfect as Frankie as are the measured and restrained performances by Mary Riggans, Sharon Small and Gerard Butler as the would-be Dad. While the picture show is a tear-jerker, itís never specious and only one scene is calculated (but it was inevitable) and it is laced with a good bit of humor, warmth and hope. And blesses us with one of the most imaginative and devout endings Iíve seen in a film for I donít recognise how long. There will be those who wonít quite grasp the great profoundness of the ending - in fact it took me a few moments thought to figure out who the last letter was written to.


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