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Bittersweet weepie thatís life-affirming

Category: Dear Frankie Reviews
Article Date: May 27, 2005 | Publication: Manchester Evening News | Author: reviewer
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DEAR FRANKIE ***/5

Starring Jack McELhone, Emily Mrtimer, Gerard Butler,Sharon Small, Mary Riggans, Sean Brown, Jayd Johnson,John Kazek, Katy Murphy. Certificate : 15.


IN an effort to hide froms her abusive ex-partner, single mother Lizzie (Mortimer) transplants herself and her deaf nine-years-olde son Frankie (McElhone) to a cramped flat in Glasgow.

The boy has never met his real father and cannot remember the horrible truth : his dadís violence was directly responsible for the loss of his hearing.

Lizzie creates a fairy-tale image of the errant parent, claiming Frankieís dad works at sea, aboard a large freighter.

To perpetuate the myth, Lizzie even writes fake letters, supposedly from Frankieís dad, detailing his exploits aboard the vessel.

Her mother, Nell (Riggans), lends emotional support, hoping to shelter the boy from any possible harm.

The womenís plan hits a massive snag when the freighter docks in Glasgow. Frankie is delighted Ė he can finally meet the mystery father who has been writing to him for months.

In desperation, Lizzie turns to her new friend Marie (Small), who suggests a good friend who will pose as the father until the ship leaves.

A handsome stranger (Butler) dutifully turns up and charms Frankie. The man also has a miraculous effect on Lizzie, helping the family to heal old wounds and forge a brigther future.

Dear Frankie is a bittersweet portrait of on motherís undying love for her son, distinguished by affecting performances from the ensemble cast and a life-affirming denouement that will have you reaching for the tissues.

McElhone is a complete natural in front of the camera, bringing an emotional depth to his role far beyond his tender years.

Mortimer and Butler are strong in support and Riggans brings a steely edge to her hard-nosed matriarch.

 


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