Frank

 

The one and only

The one and only

 

I have very vague memories of seeing Frank Sidebottom on TV when I was a kid.  In the 80s and early 90s he used to pop up on TV, with his papier-mache head, nasal Northern accent and bizarre songs.  These clips should give you a good idea of what I’m talking about…

 

So when I heard there was a Hollywood film called Frank starring Michael Fassbender, I couldn’t imagine what on earth it’d be like.

Now I’ve seen it I can’t say it’s really any clearer, I mean, I came out of the cinema thinking ‘what the hell was that?’  But in a good way.  You know?  As usual, I prefer to avoid spoilers, and actually, I think part of the fun of Frank was the not knowing what would happen next, so I won’t deprive you of that.

What I will say though, is that this was a sweet, clever and unique film full of dark humour and real heart.  It has charm by the bucket, if that’s the right unit of measurement for charm?.  It has an endearingly quirky weirdness about it, in the characters, the story and the execution.  Frank is an adorably odd and peculiarly likable film; I can’t recall seeing anything like it before.

It’s true that some of the characters are hard to like, they’re strange people who behave strangely and they live a kind of life that’s not even remotely relatable.  Sometimes they’re downright awful.  They can be pretentious, po faced and self-important.  And yet, Frank himself has so much warmth, so much charisma, he’s so open and forgiving, and has such a refreshing approach to life, he more than makes up for the shortcomings of his friends.  He makes you want to keep watching.

Michael Fassbender’s turn as Frank is quite astonishing.  I was worried before the film began that I wouldn’t be able to engage with a lead character whose face you never see, but actually, it wasn’t a problem at all.  In fact, there were times that I actually forgot about the fake head altogether.  Another pleasant surprise was Fassbender’s voice.  He can sing!

My only slight grumble, besides the fact some of the characters are so unpleasant, is that it’s sometimes a bit gimmicky with the twitter and YouTube updates but that’s a minor complaint.

Frank is a totally original film with a wonderful central performance.  It has a perfect blend of pathos and humour, ranging from the utterly silly to the genuinely moving but it never feels contrived or manipulative.  I thoroughly enjoyed Frank and I hope you do too.

Score: 8/10

Trailer

 

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15 responses to “Frank

  1. I saw Frank tonight and just loved it. I thought it was a really interesting exploration of mental illness and its connection with creativity.

  2. This looks completely strange. I had no idea who this Frank Sidebottom character was until people started reviewing this film but now I’m totally interested in seeing it! Great write-up. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tom! I loved this film, and am now reading up on the real Mr Sidebottom. Very interesting stuff, but I’m glad I went into the film having read nothing about it because I really enjoyed being able to guess what was going to happen.

  3. I didn’t like this quite as much as you, but there’s no denying the quality of Fassbender’s performance. He’s brilliant, and makes the character an emotionally engaging one despite the fake head limitations. Great review!

    Adam.

    • Thanks, Adam! I definitely think this film is an aquired taste, and won’t be for everyone. In all honesty, I’m not sure this should be my cup of tea either, but for some reason I just loved it.

  4. I have a confession to make – when i was a kid i was really really scared of Frank Sidebottom. Do you think this film could cure this fear or do you think it’ll just terrify me?

    • I can see that. I was always afraid of those people at theme parks in the animal costumes, I mean, that could be anyone in there.

      I think you might be ok with Frank, He’s by far the nicest, warmest and most likable of all the characters in the film, and there were times I even stopped noticing the head.

  5. I thought Frank fell apart a bit in its third act, but I still really liked it. The cast was incredible, especially Michael Fassbender. I love the song played at the very end.
    Lovely review!

    • Thank you! I loved that song, it was in my head for days. Fassbender is truly amazing, although, I was somewhat disappointed when we finally go to see him. It was still one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

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