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Overall Rating
4.05

Awesome: 20.51%
Worth A Look64.1%
Just Average: 15.38%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

5 reviews, 9 user ratings


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Dear Frankie
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by Elaine Perrone

"Mum's the word."
4 stars

Dominating one long wall by the bedside of nine-year-old Frankie Morrison (Jack McElhone) is a large world map, on which the boy pins flags charting the course of his seafaring father’s vessel, the HMS Accra. Frankie’s proudest possessions are the letters he regularly receives from his “Da’,” in which are enclosed colorful maritime-themed stamps from exotic ports of call, and the album in which Frankie lovingly glues each stamp. What Frankie isn’t supposed to know is that the ship – and the father – are creations of his protective mum Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), who has written and mailed the letters to him herself.

Trying to keep her son, and herself, one step ahead of her abusive ex-husband, Lizzie moves the two of them around Scotland on a regular basis, accompanied by her own protective mother Nell (Mary Riggans). When the three take up residence in the seaside village of Greenock, Lizzie is stunned to learn that a ship called the Accra is due to arrive in port. Faced with the alternatives of telling Frankie the truth or continuing to shield him with the lie – or by picking up stakes once again – Lizzie turns to her friend Marie (Sharon Small, an uncanny double for American actor Pamela Reed), who happens to know a seafarer aboard the Accra (Gerard Butler, billed here only as “The Stranger”), who she persuades to pose as Frankie’s father for the short time the vessel is docked.

Dear Frankie’s strengths lie in its photography and in two particularly wonderful performances – those of young Jack McElhone as Frankie, a deaf child with a beautifully expressive face, luminous eyes, and a smile that, when it appears, could light up the whole of Scotland; and Gerard Butler as the surrogate father with whom Frankie forms a quick, deep, and thoroughly believable bond.

An especially charming scene is one in which the two are by the waterfront, the man teaching the boy to skim stones. After watching Frankie struggle with the task, the man picks up a smooth, flat stone that he deems “a champion skimmer.” In the small act of handing the stone to Frankie, his affection for the child is palpable, reciprocated in kind when Frankie gazes wistfully at the stone, torn between demonstrating his skill for his Da’ and pocketing the skimmer as another of his proud keepsakes.

Doing double duty as director and cinematographer, Shona Auerbach paints a lovely picture of a rugged blue-gray seaside town over which seagulls soar and ships’ cranes tower.

Although it falters toward the end, with a bit of third-act histrionics that manage to tie things up a touch too handily, Dear Frankie marks a deft, if slight, directorial debut for photographer Auerbach and is as enjoyable – and just about as substantive – as the baskets of “chips rolled in butter” that make up the young boy’s favorite meal.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9162&reviewer=376
originally posted: 03/08/05 18:04:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Boston Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Boston Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/16/05 Ang Excellent story and not too sappy! I loved it. 5 stars
7/24/05 jcjs33 i would've ended it obviously differently, slowish but excellent 5 stars
7/16/05 Irene Great movie; loved Gerard, and at 59 I thought my hormones had died, but he got them going. 4 stars
4/27/05 Jeanette Gerard Butler and the whole cast were terrific. What a wonderfully well written script. 5 stars
4/20/05 Krisan awsome 5 stars
4/15/05 Carol Teasley Wonderful Movie. I loved it. 5 stars
3/15/05 Diane A jewel. Wonderfully acted, great onscreen chemistry between Mortimer and Butler. 5 stars
3/09/05 Kristina Williams Gerard is smoking hot 5 stars
9/07/04 J. Lucas Overall, this movie was great. A bit slow in parts, but a great story. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Mar-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Jul-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  21-Apr-2005


Directed by
  Shona Auerbach

Written by
  Andrea Gibb

Cast
  Emily Mortimer
  Gerard Butler
  Sharon Small
  Jack McElhone
  Mary Riggins
  Sean Brown



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