Frank

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  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.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Jan 5, 2016
    7
    A young man’s mundane life in small-town Ireland is transformed when he joins a bizarre underground experimental pop band fronted by anA young man’s mundane life in small-town Ireland is transformed when he joins a bizarre underground experimental pop band fronted by an enigmatic singer who never removes his oversized cartoon costume head, as success beckons, band dynamics and personality clashes come to a head in this unique comedy/drama from director Lenny Abrahamson.

    Eccentric is probably the most appropriate adjective to describe ‘Frank’ and everything that surrounds this film. The story and titular character are loosely based on “Frank Sidebottom”, the alter ego of 80/90’s British alternative comedian/musician Chris Sievey who wore suits and a large Max Fleischer cartoon-styled costume head whilst performing music, comedy and hosting a talk show, all in his surrealist pastiche style.

    This “Frank”, played by the irresistible and ever convincing Michael Fassbender, is a talented and enigmatic young man who suffers from mental illness and uses the head as a shield from society, around him is gathered his cult-like and equally eccentric band with their own psychological issues and together they wander around Britain & Ireland creating their unique brand of “avant-garde” underground psychedelic music.

    The story is told from the perspective of Domhnall Gleeson as “Jon”, the everyman who joins the band and goes from outsider to the driving force for popularity as he uses his promotional skills to reach a larger audience, and in the process disrupts the group dynamics which surfaces one of the main themes in ‘Frank’, the notion of artistic integrity vs. success. Even though the film is an ode to the outsider and artistic freedom, it does a great job at exposing the often pompous and pretentious nature of “experimental” artists.

    Indeed ‘Frank’ is a curious mix of themes and elements which include, belonging, isolation, mental illness and the question of trauma & suffering as an essential element for inspiration and “real” art. Frank himself is not only inspired by “Frank Sidebottom” but also some of the pioneers of “art-rock” and alternative music, such as Captain Beefheart, Daniel Johnston and Ian Dury.

    Although ‘Frank’ is very much a quirky comedy which sometimes descends into slapstick but is always surreal, the tone and pace changes drastically towards the end and becomes a drama that deals with mental illness. Although it does a commendable job of not treating the psychologically troubled as victims, there is no space to faithfully depict the intricacies of mental illness here and the conclusion of the film is rather sentimental and slightly out of place.

    The Bottom Line…
    Although quirky to a fault and despite only skimming the surface of some profound subject matter, ‘Frank’ is a wonderfully weird and cinematically unique blend of elements that makes for an artistry comedy/drama that you won’t soon forget.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 1, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The extra ordinary movie, Frank is the story about the group sound. John is the amatuer keyboard player who want to be a great song writer, but he even can't merge a single lyric with the melody. One day, he met the band 'The Soronprfbs', had a chance to play with. But unlike his expection, the soronprfbs plays mysterious music which was written by Frank. The band became fame for the new keyboard player's youtube video, they got a chance to play at the music festival. However, the comflict between memebers was getting toughed, Frank and John faced critical situation. Although rest of the members didn't play the show, the weird duo go through the stage.
    The people who use SNS me included, want to notify how they feel, how they live, how they do, yes they want to tell everyone about themselves. Like John and Frank, even the band's great leader and song writer want to communicate with the others. It drives Frank in to thirst about the public's attention, finally it ruin everything. Same as Frank, all of us want to be loved one, even the genius, but we still feel lonely, while be loved, because humans are lonely island. We pretend to perfect and normal but we don't, humans are twisted and imperfection, so we should dance, sing, love each other for remedy our shortcoming, just like Frank did with the german lady.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 7, 2015
    10
    "Frank" is an unapologetically and poetically eccentric creation. It's a movie of many layers, whose offbeat humour and oddball charm belies a"Frank" is an unapologetically and poetically eccentric creation. It's a movie of many layers, whose offbeat humour and oddball charm belies a profound depth of insight and perception into difficult topics.

    To begin with, it is an extraordinarily drawn concept that is just as extraordinarily realised. Most films depend on certain elements to be consistent throughout in order for the film to work. Frank is rather the opposite. It chops and changes with relish almost everything - from scenery to genre, characterisation to mood - to deliriously inventive effect, giving the film its own distinctive flavour that's a true pleasure to taste. It spits in the face of convention, taking familiar plot points down routes you would not expect them to go. It is a magnificently layered story and a commentary on such themes of artistry, individuality, talent and one of the most difficult topics to talk about in modern film, mental illness, which is given a superbly nuanced and wholly unexpected treatment here that is sensitive and soberingly heartbreaking.

    It is the story of Jon (Domhall Gleeson), an aspiring musician whose passion far outweighs his talent, yet manages to fall in with the avant garde outlet Soronprbs helmed by Frank (Michael Fassbender), an equitably weird and wonderful musical genius who is perpetually clad in a papier-mâché head (I told you it was weird.) The other band members are Don (Scoot McNairy), Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and two others who aren't afforded any real significance, focus or complexity in the plot.

    The most stunning accomplishment is that, in spite of all the eccentricity, the characters feel very, very real. There is genuine dimension to the performances by Gleeson, Gyllenhaal (she is particularly good, with a caustically tragicomic and layered turn as Clara) and McNairy. All three embrace their characters' flaws and use them to flesh out their portrayals, taking their most unlikeable qualities and realising them as their most human.

    And then there is Fassbender. Not many actors would find being clad in a ridiculously large prosthetic head a liberation rather than a limitation. From behind the mask, Fassbender communicates a wealth of emotions - naivete, ambition, genius, artistry and a desire to be liked and share his gifts, all in the face of a blackness that threatens to overwhelm his soul. It is a seminal portrayal of unprecedented complexity and originality. And this applies to the film as a whole. Anyone looking for a film to watch who desires something different does not need to look much further than Frank. There has not been such an individual work in a long, long time.
    Full Review »