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

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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 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: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. 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.
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  2. Mar 13, 2015
    9
    Oh Michael...when you think he has already impressed you enough he comes again and surprises you. Fassbender is amazing and manages to portrayOh Michael...when you think he has already impressed you enough he comes again and surprises you. Fassbender is amazing and manages to portray Frank in a way that you'll love him too. His charater has a mental illness, uses a big head and also has a strange way to make music. True. But you will fall in love with him and his personality. Frank steals the show and although his music is quite experimental and sometimes not very easy to enjoy, you will find a way to connect with it through the film. The other actors are stunning, specially Dohmnall and Gyllenhaal, but this is all about Frank. And Fassbender. 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 andOn 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.
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  4. Jan 4, 2015
    7
    A smart, offbeat comedic movie, "Frank" is carried on the back of its talented cast, while delivering a wholehearted story and a solidA smart, offbeat comedic movie, "Frank" is carried on the back of its talented cast, while delivering a wholehearted story and a solid premise.

    7.5/10.
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  5. Oct 11, 2014
    6
    Frank works with a fairly tired premise: Band tries to make it big, but the weird and off-beat characters and premise make it stand out, notFrank works with a fairly tired premise: Band tries to make it big, but the weird and off-beat characters and premise make it stand out, not necessarily in a good way, from the rest.

    The performances range from pretty sub-par to very good, Domhnall Gleeson's turn as Jon is very forgettable. However, Michael Fassbender shines as the titular mask-wearing Frank, who's character is both intriguing and strange. Maggie Gylenhaal's character was extremely annoying, though that was her character so I cannot fault her for that and I guess I can say she got the job done.

    The story, along with the band's music, kept me entertained until the third act where I feel the writers jumped the shark. I wont spoil what happens, but the last 30 minutes left me very dissatisfied and I have no doubt it will have the same effect with other people.

    Overall, Frank is a watchable band movie that can kill 90 minutes of your time. Although I didn't enjoy the film as much as I thought I would, I do not regret watching it. The standout part of the movie is the band's music, especially the song Secure The Galactic Perimeter. I find this odd as I found the movie's score was irritating and out of place, considering the band's music and score were written by the same person.
    Watch this if the concept intrigues you.
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  6. Sep 9, 2014
    6
    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.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
  7. Dec 31, 2014
    1
    What a bore of a movie. Half way watching the movie, I expected the story to kick in and get me interested. The movie was so bad, I watchedWhat a bore of a movie. Half way watching the movie, I expected the story to kick in and get me interested. The movie was so bad, I watched 3/4 of it and couldn't finish it. Expand

See all 27 User Reviews

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