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Laramie Movie Scope:
Dear Frankie

A nice little bittersweet love story

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 25, 2006 -- This heartwarming little film concerns Lizzie, (Emily Mortimer of “Match Point”) a mother who makes up a fictitious back story about her son's brutal father. She tells nine-year-old Frankie that his father has been away for years on a long sailing trip. When the ship in question comes to port nearby, the mother feels forced to conjure up a fake father.

She goes hunting for a suitable man willing to play the part for a fee. Miraculously, she finds a man (played by Gerard Butler of “The Phantom of the Opera”) willing to pretend he is Frankie's father. The man spends two days with her son, Frankie (played Jack McElhone) and his mother and becomes more of a father and husband than the boy's real father ever was.

The boy's real father shows up and causes trouble. The mother must make a difficult choice about whether to tell her son the truth about his real father. Her solution is unconventional, to say the least. This makes for an unconventional, but effective love story without a satisfying conclusion. There is a difference of opinion about how much of the truth that Frankie has guessed by the end of the film. Some people think Frankie knows that the man pretending to be his real father is not his real father. Others, like myself, don't buy that theory. If Frankie knows the truth, there would be a very simple solution to the dilemma presented at the end of the film. None of the people in the film are dummies, any of them could figure out the solution in about 10 seconds, yet none of them does. Since they don't, one must conclude that while Frankie may have his suspicions, he doesn't know the truth.

This film is superbly acted by the entire cast. The relationship between mother, son and stranger is remarkable, and much of it is achieved without dialogue. The direction by Shona Auerbach hits just the right emotional chords. This is a little gem of a film. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2006 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)