What would you do to protect your child? Now, before you view what the mom in "Dear Frankie" does, keep asking yourself. What would you do to protect your child? What lengths are you willing to go to to see that they're not emotionally shattered, or ruined by reality? The answer is always the same. While not original, and bound to give you a cavity afterwards, "Dear Frankie" is a simple and dreamy family flick about a single mom named Lizzie who lives with her young deaf son Frankie in their flat.
Frankie is not aware that his mom took him away from his real father
when he was a child and tells him that his dad is a sailor. Frankie
writes his father to a PO Box, which Lizzie picks up and writes back in
the guise of his father twice a month. That is until one day his
"father's" ship comes to shore. Lizzie, desperate to keep her act
sealed, hires a stranger to pretend to be his father. Little does he
know that he's in for something new. "Dear Frankie"
"Dear Frankie" is considerably innocent with a story that's engrossing
without a doubt. You almost want to see this boy happy, and with a
father, so inevitably you forget that it's unrealistic. Jack McElhone
gives a sweet performance as the wide-eyed and innocent boy who just
seeks a male role model to help him make some sense of his life. What's
interesting and well done in its delivery is that we get a sense of
Frankie's voice though the actor only mutters one brief line. He's deaf,
but the only time we hear his voice is when we're
"Dear Frankie" is guiltless sap and often very sad and saccharine. Gerard Butler plays the man (credited as The Stranger) hired to play Frankie's father. At first he seems annoyed and put out and only really seeks to be paid, but once he and Frankie get together he begins taking a liking to him. Butler's performance is very understated as a man who looks very reclusive and closed off, and is slightly brought out by this child. The film isn't nearly as manipulative as I expected it, because it tries to be original in its cliché confines. The ending especially was unexpected, and surprising that it didn't go along with the usual formula and took an original and sweet twist with a climax that will spark many debates among its audience.
Are we to believe that this mom who "created" this boat is suddenly so unlucky as to have it exist out of nowhere? And if the son charted where the boat would be headed, why didn't he actually seek it out to contact his father? Regardless, it's little twists, and unexpected lapses in logic that really do keep this film from being grounded in reality and suspended in fantasy. "Dear Frankie" has to be thought of as Capra-esque, or else we just couldn't believe in many of the things that happen here, and we wouldn't be able to sit through the predictable plot of a woman hiring a stranger, and obviously beginning to fall in love with him as the story progresses. It's little cliché elements such as that kept me from ever really enjoying "Dear Frankie".
Despite being unrealistic, and utterly predictable, "Dear Frankie" does end up being a very sweet, and entertaining bit of family fare that's sappy, but guilt-free. With great performances, a simple story, and an original ending, it's well worth watching, and you'll do it without dry eyes, guaranteed.
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