Just got back from a matinee of Dear Frankie at Seattle’s Crest Cinemas, the discount theatre that plays recent films before they disappear into the waiting room for DVD release. And I pretty much agree with everything Peter T. Chattaway said here, so I’ll let him speak for me today.
Thanks to Peter and also to Josh Hurst, both of them, for nudging me more than once in the direction of this film. Yes, it’s a bit predictable and sentimental, but it’s done so gently and tenderly that you leave the theatre with that warm glow of having heard a good story beautifully told and performed by actors who served their characters instead of their egos. (I’m more and more impressed with Emily Mortimer, whose performances in Young Adam and Lovely and Amazing were the highlights of those films.) Like Pieces of April, this is one of those quiet little films that deserves a large audience. And it’ll find one, over time, because it has something that the bigger, flashier, noisier, heavily-promoted films don’t… grace.
In fact, if you liked Millions, you’d probably like Dear Frankie. For starters, it’s about an optimistic boy raised by a single parent, and they’ve just moved into a new house. On top of that, like young Damien, who had a globe in his bedroom, young Frankie has a world map on the wall over his bed. Frankie’s focus on geography represents something very different than Damien’s, but it caught my attention as I was picking up other similarities along the way–like the strong accents that almost justify subtitles, the focus on the need for a missing parent, and the film’s unusually conscientious storytelling.