Dear Frankie

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Emily Mortimer as Lizzie
Jack McElhone as Frankie
Gerard Butler as The Stranger
Mary Riggans as Nell
Sharon Small as Marie
Sophie Main as Serious Girl
Katy Murphy as Miss MacKenzie
Sean Brown as Ricky Monroe
Jayd Johnson as Catriona
Anna Hepburn as Headmistress
Rony Bridges as Post Office Clerk
Douglas Stewart Wallace as Stamp Shop Keeper
Elaine M. Ellis as Librarian
Carolyn Calder as Barmaid
John Kazek as Ally

Special Features:
Commentary by director Shona Auebach

Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary

Interview with director Shona Auebach

“The Story of Dear Frankie”

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
French Language Track
Running Time: 105 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“This touching and humorous movie has earned the raves of critics and won the hearts of audiences everywhere! To spare the feelings of her fatherless boy, Lizzie (Emily Mortimer — Disney’s “The Kid”) secretly authors letters from his “father” that detail seafaring adventures from around the world. But she cannot maintain this illusion forever. Torn between exposing the truth and protecting her son, Lizzie gets more than anyone bargained for when she hires a handsome stranger (Gerald Butler — “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”) to play the role of a lifetime! Winner at both the Heartland Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival, this entertaining motion picture is sure to touch your heart!”

Dear Frankie is rated PG-13 for language.

The Movie:
I had weird experience while watching Dear Frankie with my wife. As the movie played, I found myself totally engrossed by the story. I thought the characters were great, I thought their various situations were amusing, and despite it being totally predictable, I liked how it ended. When it ended, I asked my wife what she thought of it. “It was sappy,” she replied. I couldn’t believe it. This was the first time I recalled ever having watched a romantic chick flick and liking it while my wife didn’t. I was embarrassed, but I stand by my final verdict. I liked Dear Frankie.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised I liked it. In the bonus features, the director said she was surprised by just how many men enjoyed the film. It wasn’t aimed at them, but the theme of fatherhood and responsibility I think speaks to a lot of guys. Kids identify with Frankie while men identify with “The Stranger” and his desire to act like a father for him. That being said, I think there’s a lot for women to like, too. It is at times romantic, but there’s a lot of commentary on motherhood and the responsibilities that go with it. It’s an intriguing situation that the characters get themselves into and as the lie snowballs, you wonder what’s going to happen when it is exposed.

I thought the cast did an excellent job. Jack McElhone is very good as Frankie. At times I wondered if he really was a deaf actor. Emily Mortimer is also wonderful as Lizzie. She plays the overprotective mother well and you really empathize with her desire to continue the fantasy for her son (despite it being the wrong thing to do). A scene where she goes out to a bar to try and find a father for her son is particularly emotional and a turning point for her character. I realized later that I’ve seen Mortimer in a lot of roles, but this was the first time I really took notice of her. Finally, Gerard Butler dos a good job as The Stranger. He’s brooding and stern, but his eventual softening to the plight of Frankie and his mother is convincing. You really root for him to become Frankie’s father.

Dear Frankie is definitely sappy and predictable, but it’s also well executed. It’s a movie that wins you over in short order. I should also mention that it has a fantastic score filled with a variety of music. It has everything from piano pieces to Scottish pop music. If you’re looking for something heartwarming and entertaining, Dear Frankie fits the bill.

The Extras:
There are a few bonus features included on this DVD:

Commentary by director Shona Auebach – This is a pretty good commentary, but it’s geared a lot towards the technical aspects of the making of the film rather than the story. Auebach talks a lot about how they shot the movie, the locations they used, etc.

Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary – The deleted scenes aren’t particularly noteworthy. One shows Frankie defending the bully that picked on him through the whole film. The scene simply doesn’t work at all and it was a wise move to drop it.

Interview with director Shona Auebach – This is an extended interview with Aueback where they quiz her about the casting, the reaction to the film, the script, and other aspects of the movie.

“The Story of Dear Frankie” – This is your standard “making of” featurette. There are interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, etc.

The Bottom Line:
Dear Frankie is sappy and predictable, but the excellent performances and the themes of family make it engrossing and entertaining.

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