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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

4.7 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed.

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
Set in one of the grittier parts of an Inverclyde port on the Firth of Clyde (where it was filmed) this is an atmospheric if at times slow story depicting the cruel world of single-parenthood, the value of friendship and the importance of the family. The production is totally engaging as it carefully and strategically embroils the viewer in the domestic lives of mother Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) and nine year old son Frankie (Jack McElhone). If ever you wondered what lengths a mother would go to to bring happiness to her offspring Dear Frankie convincingly takes you there, draws a few tears along the way and then warms your heart ready for another breaking as you see the fruits of her toiled labour. The movie builds to illustrate that the pursuit of wellbeing through protection of a child from the truth and the perceived importance of the conventional family unit can be more dangerous than just plain simple honesty. The scene in the chip shop where Frankie proudly and cheerily proclaims the relationship between himself and his companion to the waitress is a highly memorable moment that succeeds in the dichotomy of tears of joy in a way that rarely translates effectively on the screen.
The story unfolds in emotionally difficult turns without ever flinching, flagging or losing confidence in either itself or the controversial subject matter. This is achieved by superb casting and wonderfully robust performances all round where the spoken word is often of secondary importance to the subtler atmospheric facets of each interpersonal relationship. The material in terms of contemporary sociology is totally relevant and as such Dear Frankie is a worthy British (Scottish) film which is thought-provoking, intelligent and real. Whilst some of the "solutions" Lizzie reaches maybe unlikely, it should not detract from the underlying message which is nothing more instinctive and fundamental than 'what is a mother to do'?
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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 realizes 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 my sympathy shifted.
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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