The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Dear Frankie

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Judy Thorburn

Dear Frankie

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“DEAR FRANKIE” –  A LOVE LETTER FOR AUDIENCES

Sometimes there is more to be said in the silent moments than the actual spoken word.  That is what audiences will find in the independent British film Dear Frankie, a gem of a flick that leaves an emotionally strong impact from its authentic and eloquent delivery.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Lorraine Pompeo, Diana Dillon, Suzanne Paul

Set in Scotland the story enfolds as Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) along with her chain smoking, supportive mother Nell (Brenda Vaccaro look-alike Mary Riggins) and nine year old son Frankie (Jack McElhone) have packed up all their belongings and moved to a small fishing village overlooking the Glasgow docks. Rather than tell her son the truth about his absent dad, an abusive cad who has forced her to be on the constant run, Lizzie has concocted a story about him being away at sea on a freighter named Accra. Frankie, oblivious to the facts, charters his Dad’s course on a wall map and writes him letters anxiously awaiting his return unaware that Lizzie intercepts his letters at a central mail depot and answers them herself. You see, Frankie is deaf, and although able to talk, he has chosen not to. Therefore Lizzie feels the only way she can hear her son’s voice is through those letters to his dad. How long she can keep up this pretense comes to a head when one of Frankie’s schoolmates, Ricky Monroe (Sean Brown) informs Frankie that his dad’s ship is about to dock.   Lizzie realizes she is now forced to find someone who will have to impersonate Frankie’s father for a one day strictly business arrangement, with no strings attached.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Lorraine Pompeo, Diana Dillon, Suzanne Paul

With the help of new caring friend, Marie (very charming Sharon Small), the owner of a fish and chips café where she works part time and knows of her predicament, Lizzie is introduced to a mysterious and reserved man, (Gerard Butler, billed only as The Stranger) whom she hires and has him prepare for his “role” by reading all the letters.  What Lizzie isn’t prepared for is the unexpected feelings that start to develop between herself, Frankie and the kind and gentle handsome stranger, who she insisted would have no past, present or future.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Lorraine Pompeo, Diana Dillon, Suzanne Paul

Two women, writer Andrea Gibb and first time director Shona Auerbach who also does double duty as cinematographer, are behind the making of this sensitive and beautiful story about real human beings struggling to cope with difficult circumstances the best way they can, especially concerning a mother’s sacrifice in order to protect her son. The filmmakers are at the top of their game with a great script, and eliciting awesome performances from the cast and superb photography.  What could have easily fallen into shlocky sentimentality is avoided with real and complex characters that react in an honest and truthful manner without the formulaic clichés.  I noticed that there are no throw away thankless roles; everyone has a reason for being and makes an impact no matter how small their part.  Every character is memorable, which says a lot.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Lorraine Pompeo, Diana Dillon, Suzanne Paul

Young Jack McElhone is natural and convincing as deaf, but definitely not dumb Frankie, the smart as a whip, champion lip reader that understands and observes more than his mother knows.  As his mother, Mortimer shines incorporating both strength and vulnerability as a wounded woman with repressed feelings whose focus is on caring for the son she loves more than anything. And Gerard Butler, last seen as The Phantom of The Opera, gives an understated performance exuding genuine strength and power within his quietly controlled, tall dark and handsome demeanor. Totally unmasked, Butler’s eyes tell so much about what lies beneath. He had me at hello.  Consider this flick chick a major fan that looks forward to his next film and beyond.  Gerard Butler is one gorgeous hunk with a skyrocketing career.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Lorraine Pompeo, Diana Dillon, Suzanne Paul

Dear Frankie will have you leaving the theatre with a tear in your eye, although I don’t think of this film as a tearjerker. Rather, it is uplifting with a surprise twist and an ending that is open for interpretation.

Well done in every aspect including the well-suited music, Dear Frankie is one wonderful film that shouldn’t be missed. So much is said in the void, the silent moments, glances of the performers, and gestures, that I was blown away.

See Dear Frankie for yourself and know what I mean when I say you will read between the lines.