This reviewer was excited about "DEAR FRANKIE" after first seeing its trailer almost a year ago. For whatever reason, it never received a real theatrical release. Thankfully, it now has the chance to win over many fans with the recent dvd release from BUENA VISTA.
Lizzie Morison and her mom and son are always on the run, like nomads, moving from one home to another. Her son, Frankie, finds some stability from the letters he writes and correspondence he gets back from the father he's never met. The reality is that Lizzie is grabbing the letters without his knowledge, and then writing back, pretending to be the father. The reasons for this, their constant moving and more secrets are revealed later in the film. She's been pretending that Frankie's father is a sailor. Unfortunately, the name she's chosen for the boat that Frankie's father is supposed to be out to sea on, is an actual boat. That boat is coming to town, and when the boy catches wind of it, he's excited to finally meet his dad!
Rather than devastate the boy with the truth, Lizzie goes to even greater lengths to keep up the illusion. She finds and convinces a stranger to pretend to be Frankie's dad for a day.
"DEAR FRANKIE" ends up being one of the year's best surprises on dvd! It's powerful and unforgettable. The entire cast is also terrific. and Gerard Butler makes up for his performance in "PHANTOM OF THE OPERA".(well, that was Schumacher's fault anyway!)
BUENA VISTA has preserved the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. There are some scenes suffering from intrusive grain, but these problems are short-lived. However, for the most part, it's a solid transfer. Colors are rich and the image has great clarity.
BUENA VISTA has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Surrounds are reserved mostly for musical cues. But, being a dialogue-driven film, it doesn't suffer from a lack of an aggressive mix. There are some separation effects for the front channel and dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
BUENA VISTA has included a variety of extras! A running commentary with director Shona Auerbach is included. It's not very engaging, however aspiring filmmakers will appreciate her insight regarding the film's production.
Deleted scenes are offered, with or without commentary. "THE STORY OF DEAR FRANKIE" offers interviews with actors, cast and crew, sharing their perspective of the film's development. An interview with the director is also included.