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Movie Review

Dear Frankie also known as “Querido Frankie,” “Agapite Frankie,” “Cher Frankie,” “Lieber Frankie,” “Mi querido Frankie”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language.

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 4, 2005
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Copyright, Miramax Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Miramax Films


Absent father

Abusive father


Mother-son relationship

Death in the Bible

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Featuring: Emily Mortimer (Lizzie), Gerard Butler (The Stranger), Jack McElhone (Frankie), Mary Riggans (Nell), Sharon Small (Marie), Sophie Main (Serious Girl), Katy Murphy (Miss MacKenzie), more »
Director: Shona Auerbach
Producer: Pathé Pictures International (as Pathé Pictures), UK Film Council, Scottish Screen, Scorpio Films, Sigma Films, Inside Track Productions, Gillian Berrie, Stephen Evans, Angus Finney, Matthew T. Gannon, François Ivernel, Brian Kaczynski, Cameron McCracken, Duncan Reid, Caroline Wood
Distributor: Miramax Films

Frankie Morrison has never met his father; at least, he certainly doesn’t remember meeting him. He has been led by his mother Lizzie to believe that his father is a seaman, off traveling the world.

Frankie writes many letters to his father, and his father always responds with letters of his own, describing the exciting new places he is visiting. All boys look up to, and admire, their fathers, and Frankie is no exception; he dreams of actually meeting him.

Then one day, Frankie’s “friend” Ricky Monroe shows Frankie an article in the paper that informs him that his father’s ship is due to dock in Glasgow, which just so happens to be where Frankie lives. Frankie is thrilled at the chance to finally meet his father, but Lizzie is not so enthused. Why? Well, since Frankie was a little boy, Lizzie has lied to him, telling him that his father is off on the open water, keeping in touch through his many letters. In actuality, Frankie’s father was an abusive man who hit Frankie one night while he was very young, causing Frankie to become deaf. Lizzie has always felt that keeping the truth from Frankie, and letting him believe the lie that his father is away at sea, is far better than revealing the truth.

So, when the ship Frankie’s father is supposed to be on docks, Lizzie faces the challenge of either telling Frankie the truth, after years of lies, or finding someone to pose as Frankie’s father for a day, maintaining the lie. If you have read, or heard, anything about this film, you probably already know the choice Lizzie makes. She hires a stranger, “with no past, present, or future” who goes by the name of Frankie’s real dad Davy.

This sets into motion the rest of the film, with “Davy” pretending to be Frankie’s father, while at the same time growing to care for Frankie, and, of course, for Lizzie.

The content of “Dear Frankie” is mostly offensive due to language. There isn’t a whole lot per say, but there is one use of the f-word near the end, and numerous uses of God’s name in vain. There is one sexual joke a younger child tells Frankie, but other than that the sexual content is mild.

So, the question in the end is, I guess, whether or not “Dear Frankie” is a good movie. It is very well acted by Emily Mortimer who plays Lizzie and by Jack McElhone who plays Frankie. Gerard Butler, who played the Phantom in a recent opera movie, plays the man hired to be Frankie’s dad. At first, he appears gruff and standoffish around Frankie and his mom, but he grows to love them. The only problem is that Butler remains gruff and standoffish throughout the film, an emotionless statue who makes it very hard to warm up to him at the moments the audience should be warming up to him. And the ending, in my opinion, takes the easy way out by giving us a conclusion far too pat than the subject matter deserves.

The story line itself is very intriguing, which is what drew me to the film, but by wrapping it up the way they did, I felt cheated by the filmmakers.

The film runs only about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and I would have welcomed it running past the two hour mark, to give them time to better flesh out the ending. Having said that, my girlfriend who viewed the film with me absolutely loved it, and said she wouldn’t have changed anything—and completely disagrees with everything I have written. In my defense, I am ill, and was while I was watching the film, so maybe that affected my opinions, slightly. So, if it sounds intriguing, see it for yourself and decide, and don’t forget to post your opinions of it here.

I have a feeling more people will side with my girlfriend, and who knows, maybe if I see it again, I will too.

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I loved this film. The acting was sincere and reached the heart. I did observe a couple of missed opportunities by the writer. Rather than spoiling the plot for those who have not yet seen the movie, I will just say that there was a missed opportunity of redemption and forgiveness for the boy’s real father. Because of bitterness, hurt and unforgiveness, what could have been a redemptive scene turned into one full of swearing and resentment. Also, had the few expletives and vulgarities been removed nothing would have been lost from the story.

I highly recommend this film for adults and teens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff Mazza, age 56 (USA)

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