Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Sep 5, 2014
    8
    i felt more during this movie than any other movie released so far in 2014. some moments come out predictable, but i was really connected to the story. i think maggie gyllenhall gave a great performance, but it may take a while to get used to her. great alternative music as well. Expand
  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 Expand
  3. 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.
    Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. Aug 30, 2014
    5
    This dark comedy (which is often more dour than funny) is an ambitious, though largely unsuccessful attempt at a meditation on the merits of inspiration vs. commercialism, talent vs. self-delusion and genius vs. madness. Better pacing, a more coherent narrative and some extensive rewriting (not to mention less misleading marketing) may have helped elevate this project to what it could have been, but what we're left with is a largely half-baked effort in love with its own tragically hip quirkiness. Expand
  6. Sep 7, 2014
    5
    A story of societies outcasts who band together to find sanity & purpose through music. It's not until you look past the surface of these characters that you see that each and everyone is a tremendously flawed human beings. Expand
  7. Sep 7, 2014
    5
    Weird and proud of it, this movie raises questions about art, mental health, talent and absence of it, and many others. Most of characters are so strange that one can't empathize with them.

    The seriousness of questions raised shows high potential of this movie but the script does not leave much room to implement it. I enjoyed some episodes but overall I would not say that I could recommend it.
    Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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