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25 Films Everyone Must See (blog)

Category: Dear Frankie Reviews
Article Date: May 28, 2008 | Publication: | Author: Musings from Min

Posted by: stagewomanjen

#25: Dear Frankie

As I began collecting titles of my favorite films, there were too many choices and not enough slots. Never one to deprive others from joy, I decided to expand my list from 20 to a staggering 25. I was getting a complex during the decision-making process. My original list had 35 films and it became a twisted game of "Sophie's Choice" as I had to weigh in the candidates. Cutting 15 from the list was absolute torture. Then I thought, "What am I doing?!?! I OWN the stinking countdown. Why not expand it???" So, here we are. And here is my choice for the 25th slot:

Directed by Shona Auerbach, Dear Frankie was project that can only be described as a labor of love. Starring Gerard Butler (Timeline, 300, P.S. I Love You), Emily Mortimer (The Kid, The Pink Panther), and the undeniably perfect performance of Jack McElhone, the film possesses a strong cast that tells a compelling story.

Lizzie (Mortimer) is the single mother to nine-year-old Frankie (McElhone), a boy with deafness. The family has been on the move since Frankie can recall. Their most recent move is to a small, Scottish town on the shore.

Wishing to protect her son from the truth, Lizzie spins an elaborate story: Frankie's father is away at sea on the Accra, a ship that (coincidentally) never docks at their locations. To make up for his absence, Lizzie writes letters to Frankie and signs them under his father's name. The ruse continues for years as the lines between protection and decency blur.

Suddenly, Lizzie discovers she is trapped because the Accra will be arriving to their shore within a fortnight. Will she tell Frankie the truth or will she find a stranger to play Frankie's father for the day?

Desperate to find the perfect man to play the part, Lizzie accepts the offer of a gruff, Scottish man. Frankie becomes increasingly attached to the Stranger (Butler) and opens up the man's heart with his kindness and love. It isn't long before Lizzie drops her pretenses and begins to fall for the Stranger as well.

My Commentary: During this film, Lizzie takes an incredible journey of acceptance as she struggles with telling her son the truth. Her love for Frankie transforms the family dynamic and her inner strength is unsurmountable. Emily Mortimer played the part of Lizzie with such compelling honesty that it was difficult for me to decipher what I would have done in that situation. Gerard Butler allows us to witness glimpses of the Stranger's feelings until we gradually see his characters emotions shine. From start to finish, the film's heart brings laugher to my spirit and tears to my eyes.

Favorite Scene: When Lizzie tells the Stranger why she began writing the letters to Frankie. The Stranger calls Frankie a "very lucky boy" because his mother "protects him every single day."

Rating: ******** (8 out of 10)


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