Dear Frankie: A Review by Nate Hill

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Dear Frankie is a sad yet life affirming little modern fairytale set on the evocative Scottish coastal region, in a small fishing village home to many trawlers and vessels which are always coming or going. This is the place that Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) has chosen to raise her young son Frankie (Jack Mcelhone). The one thing missing is a father, who has been missing ever since he was born. Filled with love and a need for Frankie to know at least who he was, she writes him letters as if she were his dad, telling him tales of life at sea and corresponding with him for some years. As he gets older she wishes he could have met him at some point, and comes up with a slightly strange plan. She meets a Stranger (Gerard Butler) in town, who is a sailor himself, and hires him to pose as Frankie’s father, and spend some time with him. Butler agrees, but it’s clear he hasn’t spent much time around kids in his life, and the meeting is awkward at first. Soon they get on well enough, which pleases Lizzie and is good for Frankie. Still, the issue remains that the Stranger is not Frankie’s real father and Lizzie knows this, torn between the cathartic interaction she sees for her son, and the facts that she knows to be true. Mortimer is sorrowful and harbours clear hurt and loneliness, the reaching out she does to Butler as much for herself as it is for Frankie. Butler starts off charming and be used by the proposition, until he realizes the gravity of the situation he is in and learns so,etching about himself that was dormant in his life until he met Lizzie and Frankie. The human relationships are explored tenderly and with patient reverence that ebbs and flows with the English Channel tides. Beautiful stuff.

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