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28 July 2006

Dear Frankie (2004)

Emily Mortimer (Lizzie), Jack McElhone (Frankie), Mary Riggans (Nell), Gerard Butler (The Stranger)

Directed by Shona Auerbach

From IMDB: "After having responded to her son's numerous letters in the guise of his father, a woman hires a stranger to pose as his dad when meeting him."

I found the trailer for this amongst a series of previews attached to some other independent movie. Otherwise, it is the kind of low-budget British project that does not garner significant notice in the mainstream movie market. I found it charming, sweet, and - despite its vaguely unrealistic premise - quite successful. Its success is rooted in new director Auerbach's subtlety. There was no giant happy ending with single mom Lizzie throwing herself at the nameless hero, but there was accessible, realistic chemistry and realistic reactions to it.

And helllloooo Gerard Butler. I just noticed that he played Beowulf in last year's Beowulf & Grendel. I do not know anything about that movie (although the cast looks solid with Stellan Skarsgård and what-ever-happened-to Sarah Polley), but I was thinking that Butler has a distinctly HEARTY presence. Keven knows the HEARTY I am talking about, like the men in The 13th Warrior. Like solid, big, quiet, thoughtful, hard men. Like Vikings or, more accurately, like Danes. The image just fits. Butler was magnetic on screen, completely dwarfing the other actors, but some inherent gentleness seemed to blunt the force of that dominance. In real life, such a man would be the rock upon which others rely; in this film, he was a shining bright point of quiet charisma.

Gentle touches, like when Frankie's grandma comes into his room just to sit and talk for a moment, added to the film's gentle realism. The overall premise may have been only tenuously believable, but the realistic interaction between the characters made for solid storytelling. This film will not be on the must-see list of most movie-goers, but it is a sweet, refreshing little trip should the opportunity present itself to you.

Blogger Diva Kitty's Mom said...

I loved this movie! It was the best movie Butler has ever done. He doesn't make me girly... Just sweaty! LOL The little boy was quite well also.

Blogger carrie_lofty said...

I count four that get you going, then, DKM: Butler, Glen, Northam, and Darcyfirth. I will add a bit of Jackman, Murphy and Lao because I enjoy sharing works of art. Meditating on these photos actually reduces stress. Studies should be done. Lives could be saved.


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