Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, Sharon Small, Mary Riggans, Cal Macaninch, Sean Brown and Jack McElhone

Shona Auerbach

Running Time:
102 mins

"Dear Da..."

Frankie (McElhone) has been writing to his father for almost three years and he has been writing back, telling him tales as he travels around the world, working for the Merchant Navy. But what Frankie doesn't know is that it isn't his father that is responding to the letters but his mother, Lizzie (Mortimer) who is protecting him from the abusive man they have been running from for years. Lizzie plan has been working really well until Frankie finds out that the ship his father supposed to be on is going to dock in their town and he is expecting to see him.

The British film industry can do some things really well and character-driven drama is one of them but does 'Dear Frankie' have enough to endear itself to you?

This quaint, Scottish tale has all the trappings of a good social drama, as the film will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye. 'Dear Frankie' is a nice movie, plain and simple that reflects modern family problems with a positive look on life. The film tackles the issues of single parent families, growing up without a father, child abuse and doing what you think is best for the well being of your child. These are all issues that have been approached before but this movie combines these in an enlightening and uplifting way.

Central to the success of the film is the performances of the small ensemble cast. Leading the group is an excellent central performance from the very underrated Emily Mortimer. After making waves in 'Young Adam' and 'Bright Young Things', Mortimer gets her chance at a leading role and she takes it with both hands. This is an assured and confident turn from her and shows a growing confidence in her craft. As Lizzie she is both vulnerable and strong, making so many sacrifices to keep her son happy. As Gerard Butler continues to make waves in larger budget Hollywood vehicles, he returns to his Scottish roots to play a stranger that comes to the rescue of a desperate woman. This is another assured performance from an actor who should be getting more acclaim. There is also good support from Sharon Small as Lizzie's new friend Marie.

Stealing the show is the performance of young Jack McElhone as Frankie. Playing a deaf boy who refuses to speak, McElhone portrays more emotion in a look than many seasoned actors can in with a full page of dialogue. He makes the character very endearing and you what him to be happy, just as his mother does.

'Dear Frankie' is a good movie that deals with some sensitive issues in a very nice way. It is a film you can't help but like, even though other movies have covered the same type of subject matter with a more gritty approach, this still gets its point across but not too heavy handedly. With some standout performances and a conclusion that will warm even the coldest heart, 'Dear Frankie' is another example of a fine Scottish film.


Presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack, this is an excellent transfer. Shona Auerbach's heart-warming tale looks beautiful via a very sharp picture that is crystal clear throughout. The sound is also good, strongly emphasising dialogue but never really filling your speakers with sound.


Deleted Scenes
Entitled 'Father & Son', 'Fate', 'The Aquarium', 'Lizzie meets Marie', 'Bar', 'Marie's flat, Lizzie confesses', 'The dance' and 'Ricky is bullied', these deleted scene have optional commentary by director Shona Auerbach.

Shona Auerbach Interview (13.07 mins)
The director of 'Dear Frankie' reveals how she became involved with the film and what attracted her to the story. She talks about her biggest challenge in directing the film, describing what the film is about and how she cast the film to suit the characters. The director discusses her favourite scenes and what it was like been a first time director. This is a good insight into small budget filmmaking from a talented newcomer.

Trailer (1.55 mins)
Watch the theatrical trailer for 'Dear Frankie'

Short Film 'Seven' (17.45 mins)
Inspired by Shakespeare's 'Seven Ages of Man', the film describes a woman's life as she relives the seven roles she has played as a grandmother, wife, mother, lover, sister, daughter and baby. This award winning short film reveals director Shona Auerbach's early promise.

Director's Commentary
Shona Auerbach provides an informative and interesting commentary for 'Dear Frankie'. She talks extensively about the casting of the film and how she wanted to create believable characters. The director also reveals the amount of research that went into the film, especially about Frankie's deafness. She also talks about the look and style of the film and what she wanted to bring to the story and characters. This is a good commentary from an up and coming director.


For a low budget Scottish movie, Pathé have done a good job with the DVD transfer of this low budget film. The commentary track, interview and deleted scenes are good but the real bonus is the inclusion of the short film 'Seven'. For fans of the movie this is a good package and for those of you who missed the film on the big screen, 'Dear Frankie' is well worth checking out.


Billy Elliott

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