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
The song that plays while Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) is sitting on a bench crying after a fruitless attempt to find a "daddy" for Frankie, is written by one of the most famous contemporary Estonian composer - Arvo Pärt. See more »
In one of Frankie's letters to his dad, the text of the letter does not correspond to the voiceover. We hear Frankie say, "Ricky Munroe told me. Trust him to put his big feet right in it." but the letter reads, "Trust him to put his size threes right in it." See more »
Like all the best stories, this one is simple and affecting.
There's not a lot in Lizzie and Frankie's lives to aspire to, constantly on the move and clearly in fear of something. All Lizzie wants is to give Frankie the life he deserves, and in the process she sacrifices her own comforts and happiness. The letters Frankie receives from his 'Dad' (written by Lizzie) afford him the comfort and release of imagining far-away adventures and his replies speak to Lizzie in a clear voice which Frankie's deafness denies him in real life.
The prospect of meeting his father, when his ship comes to town, is Frankie's dream - at last the chance to meet the exotic and mysterious man who loves him so much - and Lizzie's completely unexpected nightmare. How they deal with it, more together than they realise at first, is the heart of the film.
Having painted the slightly depressing picture of a mother and son caught in a life which they wouldn't have chosen for themselves, the film runs the risk of mawkish sentimentality to achieve a satisfying conclusion. This, of course, would only appeal to the most sweet-toothed romantics in the audience. But the film's skill in involving the viewer makes for a rewarding experience and the danger of tears being shed by even the most hard-hearted who see it.
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