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Dear Frankie 

Shona Auerbach

Dear Frankie
Directed by: Shona Auerbach
(Pathée Pictures)
Scottish single mum Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) and nine-year-old Frankie (Jack McElhone) are perpetually on the move, as we are informed by Frankie’s voiceover. Frankie is deaf, so the VO is pretty much the only time we hear his voice. It crops up when he writes letters to his father, who Lizzie says is away at sea, a lie she’s spun for years while she answers the letters Frankie writes. The situation changes when Frankie learns of his fictional father’s actual ship coming into port, and Lizzie is forced to think fast to protect the deceit. The premise is wildly contrived, but nothing else is in this gem of a film feels false. The cast is excellent, particularly Gerard Butler as the quiet, sweet stranger who poses as Frankie’s father. Half the action in the script occurs off-screen, forcing the audience to piece together plot details and character histories from fragmented scenes and slivers of conversation, and Glasgow has never looked so inviting, dipped in the lush cinematography of deep greens and muted browns.
—Carsten Knox

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Vol 27, No 21
October 17, 2019

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