Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 09, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Dear Frankie

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
105 minutes
Limited Release Date
03/04/05
performer
Jack McElhone, Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, Katy Murphy, Sharon Small
director
Shona Auerbach
distributor
Miramax
author
Andrea Gibb
genre
Drama

We gave it a D-

Dear Frankie is a Scottish weepie of such bathos and balderdash that it deserves a drinking game in its rotten honor: Bend an elbow every time you’ve underestimated how low screenwriter Andrea Gibb and director Shona Auerbach will go to wring a tear. The kid in the title (Jack McElhone) is deaf (gulp!), and he lives with his mother, Lizzie (Emily Mortimer, so pretty, glug!), and his chain-smoking granny (Mary Riggans) in a drab Glasgow flat (cheers!). He doesn’t remember his absent da as the abusive bastard he was (chug!), and Lizzie encourages false memory by inventing a loving father who’s a merchant seaman on a ship with a fake name, sending Frankie letters that are actually written by Lizzie (double glug!).

Only it turns out that a real ship with the same name is coming into port (hic!), which means Lizzie needs to hire a guy (played by handsome Gerard Butler, chin-chin!) who will pass as Frankie’s da (slurp!). Whatever you imagine the ending will be, it’s more shameless than that.

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