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Dear Frankie

Dear Frankie

Director:Shona Auerback
Cast:Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler, Sharon Small
Release Date:2005

Opens April 15 at the Rotunda Cinematheque

By Gabriel Wardell | Posted 4/13/2005

The lovely and amazing Emily Mortimer stars as Lizzie, Scottish mother of nine-and-a-half-year-old Frankie (Jack McElhone). Deaf and mute—though we are told he is a champion lipreader—Frankie corresponds with his seafaring father and collects stamps from exotic locales. Problem is Lizzie actually left Frankie’s father years ago, and the letters are written by her, going so far as to buy foreign stamps from a philatelist to keep the illusion alive. When one of Frankie’s schoolmates threatens to destroy the charade by alerting him of the ships’ imminent arrival at the Glasgow port town, Lizzie has to cast someone in the role of dear old Dad. Falling squarely (or is it roundly?) into the art-house wheelhouse, Dear Frankie is the sort of emotionally manipulative greeting card that would be summarily dismissed by sophisticated audiences were it not all gussied up with top-drawer British talent, kitchen-sink BBC production values, and hard-to-decipher Scottish accents that effortlessly loft maudlin dialogue into the arena of literary drama. Director Shona Auerbach strikes all the wickets in a feature debut that feels as assured and accomplished as all the bittersweet, feel-good works that came before and are certain to follow.

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