Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    63
    The film is soft and sticky, but it deserves a (small) audience. If you're in that peculiar kind of blue mood where you'd like to be just a bit bluer, Dear Frankie might be the right choice.
  2. I’m all for ambiguity, but Dear Frankie’s multiple dangling threads indicate incoherent storytelling, not profundity.
  3. The movie is filled with small moments of tenderness, insight and considerable wisdom.
  4. 88
    The bold long shot near the end of Dear Frankie allows the film to move straight as an arrow toward its emotional truth, without a single word or plot manipulation to distract us.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    An endearing, occasionally sentimental story told with depth and substance.
  6. 75
    What could have been a sentimental train wreck emerges as a funny and touching portrait of three bruised people.
  7. Doesn't revert to hairpin plot twists or other dramatic trickery to hook us in; Auerbach simply lets us live with her characters-which, it turns out, is reward enough.
  8. 75
    Dear Frankie is a small movie with a big soul and no easy formula for the happiness of its big-hearted characters.
  9. It is a sweet, wonderfully acted cameo of a movie about the lengths to which a lioness will go to protect her cub.
  10. The film, with its painterly juxtapositions of dockside industry, green hills, and cloud-scudded sky, is full of misguided motives and fairy-tale fraud. But it rings true at heart.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    The movie's still shameless; the difference is you don't mind.
  12. Very well crafted and superbly acted. Whatever you may think of the idea, its execution is admirable.
  13. For anyone who has ever had to balance what the heart yearns for against what the head insists must be, this film should hit home.
  14. The movie has been shot with love and wisdom, and its implausible premise doesn't get in the way of a sweetness and honesty too rarely seen.
  15. Well acted, capably directed, not as substantial as it might have been.
  16. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    Mortimer is riveting as the sympathetic but flawed Lizzie.
  17. 70
    While the film isn’t completely perfect, director and cinematographer Shona Auerbach shows that she’s a great new filmmaking talent.
  18. But as the story takes some surprising turns, it works like a slow infection: Patient audience members may find themselves awakening to the story in much the same way the characters awaken to their own capacities for tenderness.
  19. The film tugs at us. And we forgive it its faults because it never loses sight of what it's supposed to be even though the story has a manipulative edge and maneuvers our feelings.
  20. A Scottish weepie of such bathos and balderdash that it deserves a drinking game in its rotten honor.
  21. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    Material that might have turned to standard dysfunctional family treacle in other hands is given stirring poignancy, warmth and emotional insight in Shona Auerbach's assured first feature.
  22. Subtle and graceful directorial debut.
  23. 70
    On its own terms, Dear Frankie works much better than it really has any right to. Auerbach tells a small, contrived story, but gives it the weight of life.
  24. "Miramax porn." The term refers to manipulative tearjerkers like Dear Frankie whose sensitive performances, along with a light dusting of grit, allow them to be marketed as art films. This one is clever enough to fool a lot of people.
  25. Within this overly familiar trope, there's plenty of room for small surprises, not the least of which are delightful, understated performances all around.
  26. 60
    Happily, the director and writer Andrea Gibb treat little Frankie with as much dramatic respect as the grown-up characters, and he saves the movie from killing sweetness.
  27. Dear Frankie's surprises are few and low-key, but the story wraps up nicely.
  28. 40
    The movie’s glib trafficking in illness, death and pinched little faces to jury-rig our emotional responses (Gibb was inspired by the equally likable, equally pandering Czech film "Kolya") lost me at hello.
  29. 30
    Somehow the U.K. film industry can always scrounge enough loose change from the cushions to foot the bill for a pre-chewed lump of sickly saltwater taffy like the mawkish Scottish-seaside postcard Dear Frankie.
  30. 63
    The end result is an unremarkable, unmemorable movie that deserves neither praise nor approbation.

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