Frankie (2021) Review

Certificate: 12A

Director: Ira Sachs

Screenwriter: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Sennia Nanua, Ariyon Bakare

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Language: English/French

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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A terminally ill actress invites friends and members of her close family on one last vacation to the Portuguese town of Sintra.  The film takes place over one day and highlights the messy interpersonal relationships between the three generations of the family, as they try to come to terms not only with Frankie’s situation, but with hard decisions they each have to make in their own lives.

There is no doubt that this film is absolutely stunning to look at.  The setting and the scenery mean that there is barely a scene that isn’t a total feast for your eyes.  Helped by some fantastic lighting choices and the films general aesthetic across it’s costume and set design and you have a film that is an absolute feast visually.  Sadly though, that was my favourite part.  The rest of it fell kind of flat.

There are some heavy hitters in here in terms of acting talent, so it surprises me that at times, the lines were delivered in a very flat, and monotoned way.  And not just from one actor, but from the majority of them.  This meant that there was very little believable feeling between many of the characters at all.  And in a film of this nature, where the relationships between the ensemble cast are the driving force of the narrative, to have those interactions fall short is definitely going to negatively impact the film.

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There were too many strands of plot and none of them were really given the development of the breathing space to be fully realised.  The film takes it’s time to introduce you to everyone, and to explain what everyone’s relationship is too everyone else, and then y the time that has been established, and everyone has had an interaction with everyone, else, the film is nearly over and there is little time for anything else.

We did have some technical issues with the subtitles in our screening, so there were a few sections of the film that we completely missed because we couldn’t understand the French dialogue, but I don’t think understanding these extra few minute would have changed ny thoughts on the film in general.  This one just wasn’t for me.

If you want to check out Frankie for yourself, it releases in the UK on May 28th

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