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... more » 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!« less
Kelly L. (travelbug2497) from HUDSON, MI Reviewed on 6/25/2009...
This movie is WONDERFUL! It's a very loving story of a mother who would do anything to protect her soon from a dead-beat father, even if it means hiring the very handsome Gerard Butler!!
Not only is this movie great....Gerard Butler is in... so why not watch it? lol :)
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Shim F. Reviewed on 11/19/2008...
Dear Frankie is sweet.
A Mom has been lying to protect her son from his real insane father.
In the end even though someone dies, it’s a good movie. It will make you smile. You might have to watch it twice to understand it all.
There is a great actor in this movie Gerard Butler. (He also played in P.S. I love you.)
He plays in this movie and does a awesome job.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Wonderful and powerful in its simplicity
K. Hand | CA | 03/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because DEAR FRANKIE is a limited release, many of us have to drive a while to find a theater that is showing it. The 25 mile drive I took was completely worth it.
Emily Mortimer plays Lizzie, who has been writing letters under the guise of her estranged husband to her deaf son, Frankie, for years. In writing the letters many things are accomplished. Frankie gets to feel like he has some contact with his dad and Lizzie gets to hear the innermost thoughts and wishes of her son through the letters she reads and answers.
When Lizzie, Frankie, and grandma Nell arrive in a new town, they befriend Marie. They also learn that the Accra--the ship on which Frankie thinks his dad lives--is docking near their town. With Marie's help, Lizzie encounters "The Stranger" and pays him to pretend to be Frankie's dad for one day.
Now I have seen a couple of critics find fault in casting Gerard Butler as The Stranger, thinking him too cold and gruff for the role. If these critics had watched the movie closer, they would've seen that the role called for gruffness at the beginning. However, Frankie has the same affect on The Stranger as he has on everyone else--making people want to be better and thawing out their chilly dispositions.
By the end of the movie everyone has learned something. Frankie has learned some truths through his mother and discovered others on his own. Lizzie learns to open up to others a little more. We learn who The Stranger actually is and, though we don't know anything about his past, we know that he has probably been emotionally shut down for a long time.
Like many, I went to see it because I wanted to see Gerard Butler, but I can honestly say that once the movie started (and he doesn't appear until about 45 minutes into the film) I was so engrossed in the story that the original reason didn't even exist anymore.
I have never seen Emily Mortimer in a film before (except her tiny part in Notting Hill,) but I was very impressed with the heart and realism that she brought to her role, as well as the actress who played her mother. Young Jack McElhone was especially impressive. You could see why his mother wanted to protect him so much and you could understand why The Stranger wanted to extend the time he spent with him.
Critic Roger Ebert mentioned a scene in a doorway with Lizzie and The Stranger. He talked about the way a powerful scene does not need a lot of dialogue. I watched especially for that scene and completely agreed with his comments on its profundity. This was a beautiful film and I'm so glad that I saw it. It was sweet, simple, real, and powerful in many ways. It was the kind of film that will stay with you for several days. That is what good film-making is all about and it is refreshing to see one as high quality as DEAR FRANKIE. Enjoy-"
A Great Film
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 04/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), the single mother of a 9 year old deaf mute boy, Frankie (Jack McElhone), moves her family to a tiny family in Glasgow. Her mother, Nell (Mary Riggans) announces that if they move again, it will be the last time for her. As Frankie acclimates to his new school, his mom continues about her routine. She travels by bus to a post office box and retrieves the letters that Frankie writes to his dad, a sailor that has been traveling around the world for years. She writes the letters back to her son, pretending to be the long missing father, purchasing stamps from around the world, concocting fictional travels and making up the name of his father's boat. One day, Frankie learns that his father's boat is due to dock at the Port of Glasgow. Immediately, he has doubts that his father will even want to see him. Lizzie decides to try to hire someone to play his father. Her friend, and boss, Marie (Sharon Small) helps her find "Davey" (Gerard Butler, he also played the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera"). Davey is hired to spend one day with Frankie, `before he has to ship out again'. Growing attached to the boy, he offers to spend another day with mother and son.
"Dear Frankie", a new Scottish film directed by Shona Auerbach, is a really great little gem that you should definitely seek out. Playing at a handful of independent theaters, it will slowly roll out to the rest of the country. If you are unable to find it at a theater, catch the DVD when that is released.
The beauty of "Frankie" is that every character seems real, like someone you might meet on the streets of Glasgow. Emily Mortimer plays Lizzie as a young, single mom who has had a hard life. Her one joy is her son, who is very intelligent, but a deaf mute. Because of the circumstances or her life, which we slowly learn as we watch the film, Lizzie has become withdrawn and feels she can only rely on her mom and son. When she meets Marie, she is reluctant to begin a friendship. But Marie realizes that Lizzie needs the friendship and offers her a part time job at the local chip shop and helps her in other ways. Her mother is a woman that has had her equal share of hard times, but she is trying to get her daughter out of the funk she is living in while protecting them at the same time. Little Frankie is also played in a very natural way by Jack McElhone. In films, children tend to be too precocious or too `adult'. Frankie is neither. As we learn more about him, we see that he is intelligent, shy, interested in a girl in his class and easy to bait into bets by another young boy in his class. His very existence and the letter writing have ensured that he will have an active imagination. But his mother has also helped him develop a strong interest in sea life and all other aquatic areas. Naturally, a little boy who has never met his father but receives regular letters from him will do whatever he can to learn more about his father's world. The walls of Frankie's room are lined with hand drawn pictures of sea life, a map of the world with pins marking the locations of each of his father's letters and more.
The part of `Davey' is a difficult one to pull off. Butler brings an air of desperation to the character in the beginning. I mean, why else would a grown man agree to portray a kid's dad for a day, for probably 20 pounds, except that he is desperate for cash. As he spends time with Frankie, he realizes what a great kid he is. Thankfully, the emotions aren't `big' like they might be in a Hollywood film. He comes to this realization slowly. At the end of the day, when he asks Frankie and his mom to spend the next day with him, it makes sense. We believe that `Davey' has actually grown fond of Frankie.
The key to this film is that everything is believable and natural. Nothing is played for theatrics or over the top emotion.
As the film winds to it's natural climax, we begin to feel the emotion that the characters are feeling and this makes the story all the more powerful and moving.
Worth the search
M. DETWILER | Martinsburg, PA | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because Miramax saw fit to bury this movie and spend zero dollars on advertising, anyone who wanted to see it had to track it down. I didn't think I would get a chance to see it in a theater, but it finally came to a small theater 75 miles from me. My family and I made the trip and it was certainly worth it. From the wonderful, haunting piano music at the beginning to the final credits, it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie. The story has been described elsewhere. I will just say that all the actors gave phenomenal performances. I had never seen Emily Mortimer before, but she was great. Gerard Butler has to be one of the most underrated actors today. He can express more with facial expressions and his eyes than most actors can with their whole bodies and loads of dialogue. The young actors were all good. I especially like Frankie's little girl friend. The Scottish locations were picturesque and evocative. Like I said, there are lots more accessible movies out there, but there are few that are worth the film they are printed on. Dear Frankie is heads and tails above most rubbish in the theaters today. Do yourself a favor and track it down. It is worth the trouble."
Paige Souza | Portland, Oregon United States | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this day and age it is so easy to look to the obvious blockbusters for entertainment. However, once in a while it is nice to see a film that relies on an excellent story to entertain the audience rather than big explosions and sex scenes. "Dear Frankie" is just that kind of a movie. It is moving from start to finish and never fails to produce a smile and even a few tears. All the actors involved were excellent in their roles. What made this film all the more worthwhile is the fact that the story, which could have easily become the typical love story between Frankie's mom and the stranger chosen to pretend to be his dad, never deviated from the real point of the film; the difficult and loving relationship between Frankie and his mother. If you have a chance to, see this film as soon as it enters your area. You won't be disappointed."
A quiet gem ---
M. J. Ward | Heartland Of The USA | 04/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was hooked from the piano melody under the opening credits. Lovely, and as the film progresses, the music makes a quiet statement about what we are experiencing on the screen.
Emily Mortimer as the Mother who will do almost anything to protect and nurture her child; and Gerard Burtler, as the Stranger she hires to pretend to be her sons father 'for just one day' are outstanding. With their eyes, body language, understated gestures, they portray more meaning and emotion than 9 out of 10 actors working today.
The story is of a mother who has been writing letters pretending to be her sons sailor father on a journey to far off ports on a ship called the Accra, a name she made up. Now, the real Accra is to arrive in the seaside village they live in and she must find a man to pretend to be the father 'for just one day.' The interview between Mortimer and Butler is outstanding. Very few words, but we understand the desperation of the woman, and the disinterest but decency of the man.
The boy is played to perfection by Jack McElhone.
This is a quiet, heartfelt, gem of a film and I am glad I went across town to see it after hearing about it for months. The DVD will be in my collection. 9/10 "