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With: Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone, Mary Riggans, Sharon Small, Gerard Butler
Written by: Andrea Gibb
Directed by: Shona Auerbach
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language
Running Time: 105
Date: 05/04/2004

Dear Frankie (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Letter from an Unknown Father

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's difficult to make a sympathetic character out of aliar. It takes great skill and delicate balance, and a true, heart-rending,earth-shattering reason for the lie. Dear Frankie doesn't have any of those things, and worse, it poses itself as afeel-good movie. As a result, it ignores the weight its own crimes andtherefore feels utterly clueless. The delightful EmilyMortimer (best known for being inspected nude in Lovely and Amazingand for being Hugh Grant's only reasonable blind date in Notting Hill) stars as Lizzie, a single mom in Glasgow. Her son Frankie(Jack McElhone) is unique and imaginative in ways that real boys aren't. Shewrites him letters from an imaginary dad who is off at sea having adventures.The movie waits to explain who the real father is, and Lizzie is presumablyhiding from him. When Frankie connects the name of an imaginary ship with areal one that's coming to port, Lizzie must hire a man (Gerard Butler) to playFrankie's dad for a couple of days. It's not hard to guess where the movie goesfrom there, and the ending is a complete cop-out, a gutless, thoughtlessresolution to these sketchy events. It's not a complete waste, though, thanksto Mortimer's cozy, genuine presence and the chilly, gray Glasgow locations.Shona Auerbach directed, from a screenplay by Andrea Gibb.

DVD Details: Miramax's DVD comes with a director commentary track, deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, an interview and a behind-the-scenes featurette. The picture is mastered in 1:1.85 widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound and an optional French language track. Spanish subtitles are optional.

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