Last night I watched the movie “Dear Frankie”, a 2004 British drama available on Netflix. That was the easy part of the “watch a movie” challenge for today – and the hard part is writing about it without giving away the entire plot. So SPOILER ALERT! I’m just going to go ahead and give away the entire plot.
Frankie is a 9-year-old deaf and mostly mute boy on the run with his mother (Lizzie) and his grandmother from an abusive father. Frankie doesn’t know what they’re running from or the truth about his psychotic father (whose physical abuse is what caused Frankie’s hearing loss as a baby) (but we don’t find that out until much later) because his mother has been encouraging him to write letters to his absent da (Davey) and fabricating letters back in which the dad describes his exciting life at sea.
Well, no good can come of this kind of deception in the end, right? Frankie becomes convinced that his father is taking a break from his exotic adventures and making his way back home to Glasgow, and that he is going to surprise them with a visit. So Lizzie must make a tough decision: find another way to pacify Frankie’s desire to meet his father or tell him the awful truth.
With the help of a new friend Lizzie concocts a scheme to hire a man to impersonate Davey, and in walks Gerard Butler. Well. Who doesn’t love Gerard Butler?? I can’t think of anyone. Lizzie gives him the letters after he accepts what she can pay him and he agrees to spend a day with Frankie. Then both of them decide to spend a second day together, this time including Lizzie. It’s awkward, fun, strange, and a little heart wrenching in places.
When Gerard at the end of day two asks her how her husband could ever have left the two of them, Lizzie explains that she is the one who ran away and tells him the reasons why. Lizzie has all kinds of self doubt about her decisions, saying she has kept up the letter writing thing because it’s a selfish way for her to ‘hear her sons voice’, but Gerard says he thinks she’s a great mother for protecting her son. Lizzie and Gerard share a kiss goodbye, and when he walks off down the street (with Frankie waving from an upstairs window) Lizzie discovers he has returned her payment envelopes, slipped into her jacket pocket.
Then Lizzie learns that the real Davey is terminally ill, agrees to visit him, finds out he’s still a complete asshole even though he’s dying and what’s the point, but she has a good enough heart to give him a picture of his son and a note and a picture that Frankie has made for him after being told how ill he is. The real Davey dies.
Frankie turns out to be a lot smarter than the adults have given him credit for with all their deceit and little white lies. He writes another letter, this time with the things he says letting his mother know that he has been aware for awhile that the stranger was not his real dad. He lets them both know he will help his mother to get over her sadness, talks about school and his friends and football, and then closes the letter by saying he hopes the stranger will visit them again sometime.
And that’s how it ends, with Lizzie and Frankie staring off into the sunset. Well, not really. They’re sitting at the end of a pier looking out to sea.
Now all you need is a trailer to fill in the blanks and you can say you’ve seen the whole thing since I’ve effectively done it all for you. You’re welcome. Watch a movie for me sometime.