Movie Review – Uncle Frank – 2020 – Amazon Original – A rather well made movie
My Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – Uncle Frank
Frank: You gonna be the person you decide to be, or are you gonna be the person everyone else tells you you are?From Uncle Frank
Once in a while, you watch a movie that touches your soul like the whisper of a faint wind touching the surface of a placid lake… This is one such! There are no A-listers in the movie and it essentially feels like an indie movie. It soothes the jagged edges life takes us to, and by taking us past them, makes us want to be nice people, even though the world might disagree.
Circa 1973, the Vietnam War rages.. thousands die almost every day and society’s general callousness and hatred towards LGBTQ rights are peaking. Frank (Paul Bettany) escapes to New York city from his small time roots in Creekville, South Carolina to teach at NYU. His father despises him for being gay, his younger brother, Mike (Steve Zahn) is distant from him – essentially his family, while staying with him, has abandoned him. There is Beth (Sophia Lillis), another family outsider like him, Mike’s daughter, who is the only one who adores Frank and looks forward his rare visits to the family homestead.
Frank: See, once you get out of a town like Creekville, not only do you see how small your world was, you also see how much bigger it could become.From Uncle Frank
So when Beth goes to NYC to study, for the first time in life, she enjoys freedom hitherto unknown to her. She falls in love, goes to parties, generally lives it up. She also meets, by chance, Uncle Frank’s live-in partner Walid – known as Wally (Peter Macdissi) – at a party that she and her boyfriend crash into. It is at this moment she discovers why Frank is the outlier in her extended family circle. But Beth is ahead of her times and though a young woman, she is opinionated and strong-willed, despite her frail and vulnerable appearance.
Wally is a Saudi immigrant and is Frank’s lover and is the most thoughtful and sensitive character in the whole movie. Around this time, Daddy Mac (Stephen Root), Frank’s father, dies in Creekville, and Frank and Beth drive down to their homestead, followed there by Wally, despite all warnings to the contrary. The relationship between Frank and Wally is a truly moving one, brought to life by both actors – with sensitivity, compassion, and boundless love.
The road journey, though touted as a central part of the movie, isn’t much of one, except that it takes the opportunity to flashback to Frank’s life in Creekville before escaping to NYC and the primary reason for doing so. The demons haunt him even now and the angst that had dissipated from his life due to Wally’s soothing presence, return. Being caught in a compromising position with another boy in the 1940s was a far greater crime than today and the aftermath of such social castigation had severe aftereffects.
Conclusion – Movie Review of Uncle Frank
The family gathering for the funeral and subsequent wake for Daddy Mac turns out to be both the pivotal moment of the movie as well as the climactic moment when it all happens. It highlights the prejudices and biases people harbor all through their lives, through ignorance, misguidance or sheer obstinacy. Sometimes, it just brings out hidden reservoirs of warmth, understanding and love in people you least expect it out of.
While this is seriously not a droolworthy movie which will set the screens on fire, it is definitely a warm, feel good type of movie. And sometimes, everyone needs to see something like this. That there are nice people in this world and even they are not perfect, they can’t be, and it’s ok to be like that! Despite all the evil that we witness everyday around us, God does show us what He intended us to be in some glimpses of everyday life. This movie is definitely watchable!