Volume 74, Number 47 | March 30 - April 05, 2005

Koch On Film

By Ed Koch

“Dear Frankie” (+)
Any sophisticated movie goer will label this film a soap opera. Notwithstanding that description, it held my interest, and I identified with the characters. I would suggest that you see this film for its brilliant acting and ability to project the shared love of a mother and her nine-year-old son.

The plot unfolds in Glasgow. When we meet Frankie (Jack McElhone), his mother Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), and Frankie’s grandmother (Mary Riggans), they are in a car on the run from what is not immediately clear. Frankie, who is deaf and extremely bright, has never met his father. His mother told him that he works on a ship named Accra which is constantly at sea. Frankie regularly mails letters to his dad via a Post Office box created by his mother which she answers. Frankie learns from the newspapers that the Accra is coming to Glasgow and looks forward to meeting his father. A classmate suspects there is no father and bets that Frankie cannot produce him at the playground. Lizzie in her torment to protect her son decides to find someone to play the missing father for a day.

How the father for a day (Gerard Butler) is found, the relationship that develops between Frankie and him, and how the mom and counterfeit dad will hit it off provide the soap opera ingredients. The time spent together by father and son is what you would expect. Frankie is deliriously happy.

The acting on the part of every single character is spectacular, particularly that of Mary Riggans who is truly wonderful in her small roll. Shinning through every second of the film is the great love between mother and son and how each demonstrates their love, understanding and need to protect one another. At the end of the film, earlier mysteries are explained which is generally how soap operas end.

- Ed Koch

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