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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a moody portrayal of a deaf boy named Frankie. Issues of abuse and domestic violence are touched upon here. There are sad moments and moments of surprising devotion. There's some profanity, including two uses of the f-word, as well as drinking and smoking. The movie could be too emotionally intense for sensitive kids, so parents might want to prescreen.
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What's the story?
Frankie (Jack McElhone) is packing boxes; his mother (Emily Mortimer) is on the move again. He writes to his father about his new life in Glasgow -- the bullies in his class, his mother's loneliness, his dreams of the sea. But rather than reaching his far-away father, Frankie's letters are being read and responded to by his mother, who has been corresponding as Frankie's father for years. When the ship that Frankie's dad is supposedly sailing on comes to harbor, she has to think fast to keep up the charade. Enter a tall, dark stranger ( Gerard Butler) who stands in as Frankie's dad for a day. Whether Frankie finds out who his dad really is hangs in the balance. Will the kindness of strangers prevail? Or will Frankie be crushed when he discovers the truth?
Is it any good?
An utterly lovely portrait of the inner lives of people, this film holds some nice surprises. Not the least is the quiet, almost noble presence of Gerard Butler as a stand-in dad. The edgy topics of domestic abuse are hardly talked about, yet in the end, the viewer realizes that everything revolves around how this mother protects her son. Though not as widely released as Billy Elliot, fans of the hard-knock story will appreciate this release.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it's like to grow up with a disability. How does Frankie cope with his deafness? Why won't he speak? When he speaks, what does he say?
Frankie's world is pretty low-tech -- his mom goes to the phone booth to make a call, and Frankie writes letters to communicate his feelings and his thoughts. Kids are essentially doing the same thing when they use digital media -- reaching out to those in their sphere -- except the answers are immediate. Here's a look at how connected kids are today.
The adults in this movie are smoking constantly. They are not alone. Did you know that 70% of all PG-13 movies have smoking in them? Read more, here.
For kids who love dramas
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.