Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    This terrific and sublime experience, and strikingly original film, is mandatory watching for the adventurous viewer.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 27, 2014
    90
    Frank is a true original, a film that heads in one direction only to veer off in another, yet never loses sight of where it's going.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 14, 2014
    90
    Frank is a genuine original in a summer sea of sameness, and a darkly comedic manifesto against the cultural status quo.
  4. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Aug 12, 2014
    90
    The masterstroke of Frank, the film ex-Sidebottom collaborator Jon Ronson has now co-written, is that this time the man in the mask is a modern Mozart. And, unsparingly, Ronson has written himself as the jealous goober who risks everything, with the delusion that he's the smart one.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 28, 2014
    88
    A functioning, funny, weirdly touching fable of artistic angst and aspiration, a meditation on fame and its terrors and the metaphoric usefulness of masks and huge fake heads.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 22, 2014
    88
    A delightful, oddball surprise.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 15, 2014
    88
    You're in for something funny, touching and vital. Director Lenny Abrahamson knows his way around eccentrics; just see "Adam & Paul" or "Garage" or "What Richard Did." And he makes an ideal guide into a bizarro world where music is made on the margins.
  8. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Aug 16, 2014
    83
    Frank rides a really strange tone, and director Lenny Abrahamson deserves credit for how he manages to make the strange and the sad and the funny all feel like it's part of the same film.
  9. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 21, 2014
    80
    Odd, offbeat, somehow endearing, the bleakly comic Frank has its own kind of charm as well as some pointed, poignant things to say about the mysterious nature of creativity, where it comes from and where it might all go.
  10. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Aug 18, 2014
    80
    Best of all, we get to witness Fassbender at full tilt — to revel in that gaunt, El Greco mug of his, which, for all its handsomeness, betrays no sunny side, whether here or amid the shenanigans of “X-Men.”
  11. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 15, 2014
    80
    As playful as it is, Lenny Abrahamson’s film is mostly a surprisingly earnest story about the compromises and conflicts of art, stardom, and mental illness.
  12. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 14, 2014
    80
    Mr. Abrahamson’s main achievement, enabled by the sensitive and resourceful cast, is to find a tone that is funny without flippancy, sincere without turning to mush.
  13. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Aug 12, 2014
    80
    Here’s a seemingly twee movie that ultimately, surprisingly argues that some music isn’t for everybody, some people are too broken to fix, and some would-be artists are better off in the audience.
  14. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    May 5, 2014
    80
    Dreams of rock stardom become a warped reality in this barking-mad but affecting comedy about the side-effects of being a non-conformist genius.
  15. Reviewed by: Henry Barnes
    Mar 15, 2014
    80
    For a film that champions talent that takes risks, Frank can sometimes feel a little too conventional. The real Sidebottom's wayward genius would be a hard fit for any story arc, but Frank does a good job of dipping into surrealism and pop in equal measure.
  16. Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
    Jan 26, 2014
    80
    Off-beat and punk-spirited.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 26, 2014
    80
    Helmer Lenny Abrahamson (“Garage,” “Adam & Paul”) puts the pic’s eccentricity to good use, luring in skeptics with jokey surrealism and delivering them to a profoundly moving place.
  18. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 21, 2014
    75
    Beneath those puppet-headed antics, and true to its title, Frank is improbably, disarmingly honest.
  19. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Aug 15, 2014
    75
    A film that is always interesting, largely thanks to an entirely committed cast and a writer willing to play with themes like a band improvising until it finds the right tune. There are a few off-key notes but the melody finally comes together.
  20. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 13, 2014
    75
    Frank is never more endearing than when Fassbender has a mic to his mouth, spitting out the hilariously batshit lyrics of his “most likeable song ever,” or literally singing the praises of his cohorts during an affecting showstopper.
  21. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Aug 13, 2014
    75
    If Michael Fassbender wears a giant papier-mâché head for most of a film, is he still mesmerizing? Happily, yes.
  22. 75
    Here’s an eccentric tragicomedy, with music, built to play like gangbusters at Austin’s South by Southwest music-movie fanboy/fangirl festival.
  23. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Aug 11, 2014
    75
    The film boldly raises the unanswerable question of whether it's better for an artist to safely isolate his work or tweak it a bit so as to share it with the world.
  24. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jan 26, 2014
    75
    Though more in love with its silliness than the insights buried inside them, Frank works to amusingly irreverent effect when combining the two.
  25. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 18, 2014
    70
    Fassbender spending nearly an entire movie obscured by a giant fake head is such a had-me-at-hello idea that it’s disappointing that Frank never plumbs the fascinating questions it raises about performance, group dynamics, and mental health.
  26. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Sep 3, 2014
    67
    Director Lenny Abrahamson establishes a twee tone early that renders tinny the transition into melancholy, and it’s a shame the film so clings to Jon’s perspective. The takeaway is as flat as Frank’s mask. Bemused smile, followed by deflated feeling.
  27. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Aug 21, 2014
    63
    Still: the Soronprfbs may be the best fake on-screen punk band since the Stains.
  28. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 21, 2014
    63
    Walking a line between droll comedy and a darker, more unsettling drama that the filmmakers aren’t quite up to, Frank is an entertaining curio with flashes of inspiration. That’s also a pretty good description of Frank’s music.
  29. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Aug 14, 2014
    63
    A clunky-if-earnest comedy about a literal band of misfits led by a singer who never takes off his mascot-size headgear. Ever.
  30. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 5, 2014
    60
    Yes, that makes Frank weird, but it's the kind of weird I can't get enough of.
  31. Reviewed by: Daniel Green
    May 21, 2014
    60
    With Frank, Abrahamson cultivates a mystical hour of prog-based shenanigans before he - and his film - begin to lose their collective heads in a muddled final third.
  32. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 26, 2014
    60
    If you'll pardon the cleverness, Frank takes time to wrap your own cranium around, faults and all, and that's a wonderful thing.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 26, 2014
    40
    The mash-up of elements combine with a singularly unpleasant roster of characters to create a work of genuinely off-putting quirkiness.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Sep 12, 2014
    8
    On the surface Frank appears to be the polar opposite of Lenny Abramson’s prior works which were characterised by naturalistic dialogue and settings that emphasized the grey and drab side of Ireland. In contrast Frank sports a bright pallet and contains a group of incredibly eccentric characters including the titular Frank who wears a paper mache head. However, as the film progresses the eclectic tone and colourful visuals gently falls away to reveal a heartbreaking meditation on mental illness.

    We meet our protagonist Jon (Domhall Gleeson) wandering the beach attempting to find inspiration for his music. He is a mediocre keyboard player and vocalist but passionate about his music. Jon is our entry point into the world of Frank as well as our narrator. The voice-over narration, a device which is usually used as a lazy substitute for acting, in this case is used effectively. Jon’s voice provides the chaos with some form of structure and allows him to have a conversation with the only character capable of having a conversation in the film; himself.

    Jon meets and quickly falls in with Frank’s band, the Soronprbs (which has a deliberately unpronounceable name). A band whose music is equal parts strange and wonderful. They are in need of a new keyboard player because, when Jon meets them, their current one is trying to drown himself in the ocean. In a darkly comic nod to This is Spinal Tap we later learn than Jon is actually their third keyboard player. The band is managed by Don (Scoot McNairy), an ex-mental patient due to his sexual preference for manikins. There are four members beside Don and Jon but two of them are never fully fleshed out. They are given the clichéd excuse of being foreign and we soon forget about them. The remaining two are Maggie Gyllenhaal in a wonderfully petulant performance as the Theremin playing Clara and Michael Fassbender as Frank.

    The gamble of casting Fassbender in a completely masked role pays off as he delivers surely one of the greatest masked performances ever. The range of emotion he is able to express through the paper mache head is outstanding and it goes without saying that this is his most humorous role yet (dark though it be). He benefits from a well written script but still carries the film with his fine physical performance.

    The first two-thirds of the film, while refreshingly unique, suffers at times from inconsistent pacing. The editing fails to balance the conflict between the choppy montage sequences and the meandering band practice scenes. Where the film brings itself together is in the final act when the bright mask of the film is removed to reveal something profound underneath. As I hinted to earlier, one of the running themes of the film is mental illness and it deals with this hard subject in a nuanced way.

    More interesting questions arise in the film but I feel that to discuss them would take away from the viewing experience. All I can do is encourage you to seek out this film. It’s not a perfect film but in a summer full of blockbuster disappointment it’s a distinctly original treat.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2014
    8
    It's strange story line and even stranger characters have enough chemistry to pull of a rather weird yet entertaining experience that brings back the unforgettable Chris Sievey and his music Full Review »
  3. Sep 9, 2014
    7
    Frank is nothing you'd ever expect to see. That's part of what makes it such a treat. You'll quickly realize how fun it is to question art vs. popularity. Full Review »