DEAR FRANKIE

Ends Justifies the Means?

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: March 04, 2005

Starring: Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone,
Gerard Butler, and Sharon
Small

Genre: Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: PG-13 for language

Runtime: 103 minutes

Distributor: Miramax Films/Buena Vista (The
Walt Disney Company)

Director: Shona Auerbach

Executive Producer:

Producer: Caroline Wood

Writer: Andrea Gibb

Address Comments To:

Bob and Harvey Weinstein
Co-Chairmen
Miramax Films
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
Website: www.miramax.com

Content:

(BB, H, LL, S, AA, D, MM) Strong moral worldview in which mother goes to great lengths to shield her young, deaf son from his physically abusive father with a humanist message mixed in that sees power only in human efforts; eight obscenities and eight profanities; no violence; one brief sexual innuendo by fourth graders on playground; characters drink beer and periphery characters drunkenly stumble; several characters smoke; and, mother lies to son about the identity of his father in order to protect him from the abusive parent and kind man pretends to be the child’s father, although the child figures out the trick.

Summary:

DEAR FRANKIE is a syrupy drama from Scotland about a mother going to great lengths to protect her son from his physically abusive father. There is a fair amount of light foul language, which is unexpected and unnecessary, but overall, DEAR FRANKIE is warm and schmaltzy entertainment.

Review:

DEAR FRANKIE is a syrupy drama from Scotland about a mother going to great lengths to protect her son from his physically abusive father. Along with her mother, the three of them have been on the run from Frankie’s dad since he was a baby. Each time that he catches up with them, the trio hits the road again. To prevent Frankie from knowing the harsh truth about his father, his mother Lizzie writes letters to Frankie and signs them from his father. When it is impossible to maintain her lie much longer, she pays a man to pretend to be the writer of the letters, Frankie’s father.

While this elaborate lie may seem cruel in a way (a mother lying to her son), the movie softens it a lot and gradually reveals her reasons for maintaining it. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Lizzie, who is utterly dedicated to her young, deaf son and has turned her life upside-down to protect the boy from his villainous father. Still, the situation would have been a lot less complicated had she not written the letters and lied about his father’s identity. One can imagine the problems with trust that will result later in life for Frankie.

Of course, the plot twists and turns once Lizzie hires a stand-in father for Frankie. The director and writer make everything a little too obvious, which will insult, or more likely bore, more savvy viewers. At one point, it seems that Lizzie and the stand-in father are going to fall in love, but happily the movie has too much restraint for that hackneyed subplot. Many of the moments, especially once Frankie’s real father becomes involved, are very sad, in a heartwarming way.

Think of DEAR FRANKIE as a sad romantic movie, except the love is between mother and son instead of two paramours. It’s a lot better than many Lifetime TV movies but is in the same genre. There is a fair amount of light foul language, however, which is unexpected and unnecessary for a movie like this. It will turn off some audience members who would otherwise enjoy the movie. Overall, DEAR FRANKIE is warm and schmaltzy entertainment.

In Brief:

DEAR FRANKIE is a syrupy drama from Scotland about a mother going to great lengths to protect her son from his physically abusive father. Each time that he catches up with them, they the road again and move. To prevent Frankie from knowing the harsh truth about his father, his mother Lizzie writes letters to Frankie and signs them from the dad. When it is impossible to maintain her lie much longer, she pays a man to pretend to be Frankie’s father.

The mother’s elaborate lie in DEAR FRANKIE seems cruel in a way, but the story gradually reveals her reasons for maintaining it. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Lizzie, who is totally dedicated to her young, deaf son. Still, the situation would have been a lot less complicated had she not written the letters and lied about his father’s identity. Think of DEAR FRANKIE as a sad romantic movie, except the love is between mother and son instead of two paramours. The movie contains a fair amount of light foul language, however, which is unexpected and unnecessary for a movie like this. Overall, DEAR FRANKIE is warm and schmaltzy entertainment.