Frank

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Frank Movie Poster Image
Quirky dramedy has strong language, suicide attempts.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

One message could be not to judge a book by its cover. Jon assumes that Frank is a genius and spends too much time trying to be like Frank -- or like others -- than trying to be himself, but in the end he realizes that it's more important to help Frank than to worry about his own troubles. There's also the question of whether an artist should stay true to his vision or try to make something closer to what the people want. The main character uses social media to try to gain the band more exposure/fame.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Frank may seem like a fascinating character, but he's not a role model. He's a highly troubled soul who hides and pretends to be something he's not. Jon gets easily taken in by him, and though he eventually tries to help make things right, his choices throughout the movie aren't particularly wise.

Violence

A character commits suicide by hanging himself from a tree. He's given a funeral pyre, and his ashes are collected for scattering. A character stabs another in the stomach, with very little blood shown. (More blood is actually shown when a character cuts himself shaving.) There's another suicide attempt (a character walking into the ocean) that fails. Characters practice self-defense moves that, in one quick scene, grow out of hand. A character is hit by a car. Characters frequently argue and insult one another.

Sex

Two characters have rough, sudden sex in a hot tub; the male character stands up naked, but he's shown from behind and out of focus. There's also some sexual discussion and innuendo: One of the characters is said to have a condition wherein he sleeps with mannequins.

Language

Language is very strong throughout. Words include "f--k," "s--t," and "bulls---," as well as the occasional use of "c--t."

Consumerism

The main character documents his adventures on social media. He sends lots of tweets, which are printed on the screen along with Twitter's logo. (He also includes hashtags.) Tumblr and YouTube are also mentioned and shown. The idea is that, with tons of followers and subscribers, one can be rich and famous. Events also take place at the real-life South by Southwest festival.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes fairly frequently. Characters drink beers in one scene as a celebration.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Frank is a quirky dramedy about a "genius" rock musician who wears a fake head and the ordinary keyboard player who becomes involved with him. Language is the biggest issue, with characters using "f--k" throughout, as well as "s--t" and "c--t." Two characters have rough sex in a hot tub, though no sensitive body parts are shown, and there's some additional sexual innuendo. Characters attempt suicide (one succeeds), a character is stabbed (very little blood is shown), and there's general arguing and shouting. Characters also smoke lots of cigarettes. The main character documents his adventure through social media; Twitter is mentioned frequently, and the Twitter logo is displayed, and there are mentions of Tumblr and YouTube.

User Reviews

Parent of a 10 year old Written byNcarb January 2, 2015

twisted, clever and funny!

this film tells the story of a wannabe, who falls in with a group of painfully talented alternative musicians. In his attempts to steal some of their startdust... Continue reading
Adult Written byGresh854 January 10, 2015

Frank is Absolutely Unique and Brilliant

Frank was a very different but entertaining film with lot of meaning put into it. I think the movie is not that inappropriate. The real problem in the movie t... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah September 19, 2014

It's hard to be really weird but respectful, but this movie pulls it off.

This movie is weird. It's endearing, but it's very weird. Not Kubrick-weird or artsy, but endearing in its originality that stems from its weirdness.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byellawakeman November 10, 2015

Quirky, strange, but pretty good!

Alright, so there's an attempted suicide, a successful suicide, drugs, language, a rather heated sex scene (although no actual explicit body parts are show... Continue reading

What's the story?

Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) wants to be a songwriter but doesn't seem to have much luck. One day he witnesses an attempted suicide by a keyboard player in a visiting band. The band needs a new one, and Jon gets the job. Onstage, he meets the mysterious, charismatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who always wears a weird, papier-mâché head. Soon, Jon finds himself a permanent member of the group, recording an album for months and months in the woods and eventually putting up his own money to help finish it. Tensions rise, especially between Jon and Theremin player Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and eventually things come to a breaking point at the South by Southwest festival.

Is it any good?

Lenny Abrahamson's FRANK starts off with a strong idea, the image of the man in the fake head. This basic but powerful image toys with several great themes, including the nature of identity, the nature of physical appearance, and even the idea of art versus commerce. But though Frank touches the surface of these ideas -- and it's certainly entertaining enough -- it seems more content to squeeze into the framework of a familiar kind of quirky art-house comedy-drama.

The movie comes a little too close to the typical "passive observer" formula in which the main character dilutes the story's power by viewing everything from a distance; he also has a kind of naïveté that prevents the movie from digging deeper. The filmmakers are happier making jokes about how strange things are to the newbie. Remarkably though, Fassbender gives a captivating performance even without the use of his face or eyes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Frank's central image: the fake head. What feelings or ideas come up around this head/character? Do you know anyone who ever pretended to be someone else? What were their reasons? How did it turn out?

  • What's the movie's take on social media? Is it ultimately helpful or harmful? Does the way it's used here seem realistic?

  • Why do you think the characters smoke so much? How does that make them appear? What are other examples of a "rock 'n' roll" lifestyle?

  • What does Frank's music sound like? Is it reasonable to ask him to make it more likable?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky movies

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