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Forgiving the Franklins (2006)

A conservative, God fearing Southern family is spiritually changed by an auto accident, but who they become puts them at odds with the highly conservative values around them.







Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Franklin
Frank Franklin
Caroline Franklin (as Aviva)
Brian Franklin
Peggy Lester
Pop DaSilva ...
Zak Spears ...
Coach Caldwell (as Khris Scaramanga)
The Pastor
Junior Law Partner
Bob Savage ...
Senior Law Partner
Terry Leftgoff ...
Bert Lester
Erica Woodson ...
Station Attendant
Kimberly Price ...
Christian Parent's Association Leader
Tracy Berna ...
Christian Women's Group member
Suzanne Brown ...
Christian Parent's Association Woman


The Franklins are Bible belt Christians: Frank's a lawyer, Betty's a homemaker focused on her children and her church, Brian is a senior who plays football, his younger sister Caroline is a cheerleader who thinks she's fat, prays often, and is impatient with God. When the family is in a car crash, all but Caroline are in a coma during which they see Jesus who removes their inhibitions and their piety. Awake and refreshed, Frank, Betty, and Brian discover their sexuality, their independence from Sunday worship and formal prayer, and the ability to talk frankly. Caroline - and her godmother, Betty's best friend, Peggy - are horrified. Can Caroline be saved, and the Franklins forgiven? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They know not what they've done. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including a scene of aberrant intimacy, graphic nudity, frank dialogue and some language


Official Sites:



Release Date:

25 January 2006 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was made without a film crew, as evidenced by the end credits. See more »


Jesus Christ: I do love you people. You know that, right?
See more »


References The Sopranos (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

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27 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a wonderful movie...it's funny, dark, poignant, thought-provoking, innocently naughty and generally entertaining all around. I don't know that I've seen the like before..."The Rapture,"or maybe one of Todd Solondz's black-as-night "comedies" or even the recent movie "Teeth" come to mind...but those are all bitter, nasty little gems. "Franklins," despite the darkness around the edges, manages to have a thoroughly sincere and pure heart.

The story is similar to John Waters' "Low Down Dirty Shame," only this film differs in that it actually HAS a story, and something to say as well, beyond Waters' juvenile "Sex isn't dirty (snicker, nudge-nudge)" message. A conservative, repressed family undergoes a drastic change as a result of a car accident and suddenly aren't so conservative anymore...in fact, they're finally actually happy, probably the only people in their town (or maybe the entire world) who are. To talk about why this is the case would be to spoil the film; simply put, everyone should see it, though of course only people who are already sold on what the movie's upbeat, hopeful philosophy is ever would.

The acting is great--just this side of realistic enough to keep the proceedings from getting too heavy...Teresa Willis gives an especially memorable and brave performance as an uptight mother who emerges like a butterfly when she's freed up. Both she and Robertson Dean deserve kudos for their unflinchingly sincere performances (not to mention frequent and extensive nudity and sex scenes); they turn what could have been a salacious joke involving a "deviant sex practice" into a touching, believable and endearing moment. Aviva as the daughter is a standout and someone to watch, perfectly capturing the attitude, angst and speech patterns of a girl her age. Vince Pavia as the "himbo" brother with a secret is good looking and functional although his storyline and how everyone reacts to it is more rewarding than his actual acting. Mari Blackwell as the conflicted best friend to mother Franklin is wonderfully cold, confused and even compassionate in a role that could have gone over-the-top.

Technically the film looks fantastic, all bright colors and wide-open locales...it looks like it may have been shot Hi-def...if so, the line has gotten very thin, it looks very much like film. There is a great deal of talking and a lot of it philosophical, which gets a bit preachy (moreso, I'd imagine to a viewer who disagrees with the film's politics), but this film says a lot of things that need saying...if only people wouldn't be afraid to listen and think. The arguments that take place are smart and well thought out, first and foremost refusing to demonize either the religious OR non-religious parties.

The ending is on the ambiguous side, which I found a bit of a disappointment somehow...I think it would've worked better had the author (as Jay Floyd is, since he produced, wrote and directed) given a more workable denouement, some sort of solution, but then again, there probably isn't one when it comes to pitting people with different faiths against one another. All the same, it was a moving, memorable final image that left me choked up--a success. Meanwhile, I'm awfully glad Mr. Floyd got this film made and look forward to sharing it with as many people as possible. Check it out.

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