Dear Frankie 2004

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Heartwarming drama about nine-year-old Frankie (Jack McElhone) and his mother, Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), who have been on the move ever since he can remember. To protect her son from the truth about his abusive father, Lizzie has invented a story to satisfy Frankie's curiosity. She regularly writes Frankie a letter from his make-believe father who she claims works aboard a ship travelling to exotic lands. However, Lizzie soon finds out his 'father's' ship will be arriving in a few days. Now, Lizzie must choose between telling Frankie the truth and hatching a desperate plan to find the perfect stranger to play the perfect father.

Starring:
Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 25 minutes
Starring Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler, Emily Mortimer
Director Shona Auerbach
Genres Drama
Studio PATHE DISTRIBUTION
Rental release Limited availability
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie on 4 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
Director Shona Auerbach and writer Andrea Gibbs put together a real winner with their 2004 release, "Dear Frankie," an intelligent and extremely poignant film which I have had on my "must see" list for some time. Powerful performances from an extraordinary ensemble cast of relatively unknown actors are one of the major elements which makes this movie so special. There are some profoundly moving moments here, and absolutely no manipulative sappiness.
Lizzie Morrison, (Emily Mortimer), her nine and a half year-old son, Frankie, (Jack McElhone ), and her chain-smoking mother Nell, (Mary Riggans), have moved to a small seaside town near Glasgow, Scotland, to elude Lizzie's husband, Frankie's father. They have been on the move now for nine years, never staying long in one place. The small family of three are held together by love, which is palpable, and also by a web of lies which were originally invented to protect their most vulnerable member, the child. Frankie, who is hearing impaired, believes his father is a merchant marine seaman and writes to him faithfully, tracking the progress of his ship, the Accra, as it travels the world.
In fact, the boy is really corresponding with his mother. Lizzie encourages him to write his dad and then she intercepts the letters, responds to them and mails them, often enclosing international postage stamps for the child's prized collection. Frankie's letters, and the one's from his "father" are mailed to a central PO box which Lizzie rents whenever they move to a new place.
Major problems surface when Frankie discovers that his dad's cargo ship, the Accra, (which really does exist, to Lizzie's great surprise), will be in port for a few days. He agonizes over whether his father will come to visit him. And Lizzie is besides herself with what to do.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sue Lewendon VINE VOICE on 19 May 2006
Format: DVD
I watched this last night simply because I love Gerard Butler,( who played the title role in the movie version of The Phantom Of The Opera), and was not disappointed very much. The only reason I was left feeling a little hard done by is the fact that his character isn't in it enough!

I don't want to spoil it for you by saying anymore. I would just like to say though that the scenes in which the pair meet for the first time and also when they say goodbye, had me in floods of tears! There are some quite funny little bits along the way too.There's also a good dose of twists and turns to keep you interested. But ultimately for me, it's the twist in Frankie's last letter of the film that really got under my skin. Such an astute little boy is our Frankie!

Any fans of Gerard Butler will love this as he delivers yet another outstanding performance, completely unlike any other of his characters. Emily Mortimer who is Frankie's mum is brilliant too,(and lucky as hell to be able to play alongside G.B!), as are the whole supporting cast.

All in all this is a fairly dark drama but don't let that put you off. If you do, you will miss one of the best 'homegrown' Scottish films I've ever had the sheer delight to see. Absolutely breathtaking stuff.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Williams TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 April 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are few films that I would want to watch more than once. Well, I've just watched 'Dear Frankie' for the third time, and it gets better each time. The plot has been covered in other reviews, and you probably wouldn't want me to give too much away anyway, so here are just a few reasons why I like this film so much:

It does have a great plot, full of twists and turns (and I'm one of those who thinks the ending is just fine). 'Nuff said.

It stirs strong emotions without being maudlin or sentimental.

It reminds us that great storytelling does not depend on huge budgets, special effects and all-star casts.

The story unfolds at a pace that is slow enough for the characters (and our identification with them) to develop fully. They are all utterly human and believable.

The photography, particularly the rather understated monochromatic colour schemes of most of the scenes, enhance the acting and the storytelling.

The music likewise.

In an age where films generally seem to be aimed at an audience with an attention span of somewhat less than one second, the length of time for which some of the shots are held seems quite daring. But how better to induce such a build-up of tension and emotion. Look at the scenes where the protagonists are leaning over a railing by the sea, or where they kiss, and you'll see what I mean.

The acting and direction are perfect.

I maybe don't see Gerard Butler in the light that some female reviewers seem to, but even as a man I can see that he has the charismatic presence of a latter day Sean Connery. (And he's so lucky to be acting opposite Emily Mortimer.)

So don't miss this film; it packs an emotional and artistic punch that is more than equal to most big budget Hollywood blockbusters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dorie on 14 Oct 2005
Format: DVD
I will not start with the usual plot synopsis, as other reviewers have already done that. I will just say that this is a beautiful and touching film, brought to us by a very talented cast. The nine year old boy playing Frankie, Jack McElhone, is just amazing. As the director, Shona Auerbach points out, since this is a silent part (Frankie is deaf), all of Frankie's acting has to be done through body language and facial expression. And Jack does this superbly. You hardly realize he does not speak throughout the movie, since his face and his gestures speak so much and convey so many emotions.
The relationship between Frankie and the stranger who is hired by his mother to play his father for one day is very believable and very moving. The stranger, a sceptic at the outset, becomes emotionally involved and while at first he does not think much of Frankie's mother for doing this, ends up respecting her and so do we, the audience. Personally, I felt I did not like Frankie's mother at first, as her motives seem unclear. We learn about her motives with the stranger, and that's when sympathy shifts.
I was also particularly impressed by the stranger's emotion in the scene where he meets Frankie: he needs to be believable, and he is very tense wondering if he has done well. I felt the tension with him. Gerald Butler is wonderful, looking handsome, tall, and reassuring, the father figure Frankie really needs.
There are so many touching moments I will let you discover for yourselves, as I don't want to spoil it for you. I will just say that the entire movie is full of twists and turns, much more than you'd expect. In the second half a surprise awaits in virtually every scene to the very end , and I also cried at virtually every one of these scenes.
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