Parents' Guide to

Dear Frankie

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Moody but uplifting tale of deaf boy. Get your tissues!

Movie PG-13 2004 105 minutes
Dear Frankie Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Beautiful, touching film...with a few strong words in the middle

Dear Frankie is a wonderful film. However, it has a few things that prevent me from fully enjoying it. The bad news: There is one scene with strong language, which only comes from Lizzie's abusive husband. The only other language (that I recall) is mostly from the grandmother, who likes to use the Lord's name in vain. There is also a scene in which one of Frankie's new classmates tells a vulgar joke. In another scene, one of his friends divulges the contents of her mother's closet, and none of it is clean. There is some smoking and drinking by adults. The drinking by the main characters is all in the context of true camaraderie. No wild parties, although there is one scene in which Lizzie enters a pub and the atmosphere is loud and a bit intimidating. The good news: No sex. No nudity. Positive portrayal of friendship and family. While Lizzie's family situation is not ideal, we can see that she and her family members have a love for each other and any conflict that arises between them is out of simple human imperfections and concern for each other. It's clear that the past abuse inflicted on Lizzie by her now estranged husband has taken its toll on the family and they are trying to make the most of it. While there isn't much laughter in their home, they do communicate and want the best for each other. This movie has a lot of depth, within both the dialogue and the silent moments. Emily Mortimer and Gerard Butler are wonderful at communicating so much without saying anything. I also feel that this film is a good example of how abusive people can manipulate others, taking advantage of their good nature, and can convince them to continue being with them. You get the sense that Lizzie most likely did not run away from her abusive situation the first time her husband went on a rampage. As a side note, the scene with Lizzie's husband getting angry and violent is a bit startling and made me cringe, especially with the strong language, but it's brief and doesn't bring the whole movie down. I appreciate that we see Lizzie grow stronger and become even more resolved to protect herself and her family. (*possible spoiler*) I also appreciate that - while Lizzie allows a stranger to pretend to be Frankie's dad for a day, even though he was recommended by her friend - she shadows him and Frankie all day, never allowing the two to be alone together. Dear Frankie is filled with many touching moments and some pleasant surprises. I think it's worth seeing. Just be aware of the few objectionable elements. I recommend screening it before letting your older children see it. Side note: If you are able to watch it with the commentary after having first seen the film in its entirety, I also recommend it.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Movie Details

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