Nine-year-old Frankie and his single mum Lizzie have been on the move ever since Frankie can remember, most recently arriving in a seaside Scottish town. Wanting to protect her deaf son from the truth that they've run away from his father, Lizzie has invented a story that he is away at sea on the HMS Accra. Every few weeks, Lizzie writes Frankie a make-believe letter from his father, telling of his adventures in exotic lands. As Frankie tracks the ship's progress around the globe, he discovers that it is due to dock in his hometown. With the real HMS Accra arriving in only a fortnight, Lizzie must choose between telling Frankie the truth or finding the perfect stranger to play Frankie's father for just one day... Written by
I saw the movie last night in Los Angeles - it's only playing at a couple of theaters. Other reviews undoubtedly explain the premise of this film so I'll dispense with that . . .
Folks looking for a lot of exposition or for a film that screams "Hey! Look over here!!", or Gerry Butler fans looking for some of that famous sex appeal should be warned. This film is very subtly written and acted. Much of the story is told on the characters' faces, on what that tells you about what is going on internally within the characters. The characters aren't archetypes (i.e., villain, precocious kid, cynical older woman) but real and complex people who like the rest of us face life without histrionics or mugging for the camera. No plots are hatched but we see choices have been made in increments so that the idea of hiring a "stranger" to play dad does not seem contrived. I disagree that the audience is being manipulated; in fact, what could be a predictable manipulative ending is not, and is left to the viewer to interpret. The film tells you a story but doesn't try to tell you how to feel about it. Even the music is simple and subtle, no sweeping rifts to get your emotions going. It is a quiet film with a good story and people you end up caring about - as if you'd peered into their lives for a few days.
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