Ira Sachs is one of my favorite directors and his films ave always touched me, from ‘Love is Strange,’ to ‘Keep The Lights On’ to ‘Little Men.’ I wish I could say the same for ‘Frankie,’ his latest film. I had high hopes for it, for it stars Isabelle Hupert in the title role (Does she only make films with one word name titles ? From Elle to Greta and now Frankie) Unfortunately, though, ‘Frankie’ is too subtle for me, and I am the queen of subtle. Jupert plays a movie star named Françoise Crémont who assembles her family in picturesque Sintra, Portugal. ‘Frankie; as she is called, is dying from cancer, and she is trying to orchestrate her family’s lives after she passes. This situation, of course, lends to a whole range of emotions among her family members, as they deal with their own personal struggles. The ensemble cast around her is great, and I particularly liked Marisa Tomei as a woman unaware that she is being match-made by Frankie for her son. There’s not much drama in here – the situations are sparse and under-nuanced, and there were far too many characters for the audience to connect with except for Hupert’s Frankie. I appreciated Sach’s genteel style, I just wish there were more substance.
Whatever happened to Hugh Grant? I know I haven’t been up to date on a lot of things but I don’t think I have seen a lot of him at late. So I jumped at the chance of seeing “The Rewrite,” where Hugh Grant is back in fine form in a role only Hugh Grant can do. He is in his element here, with his droll British accent spouting satirical dialogue dryly. As a middle aged screenwriter who had his last Academy Award winning script in 1999, the well has run dry and has to accept a professor job in Binghamton, New York. he is a fish out of water in different ways: an Angeleno in the East Coast, a man whose screenplay is revered but has not produced anything of substance since. It’s all rote, but Grant elevates the material, which could be spotty, and dated (I wonder if this has been languishing for a while) It was also great to see Marisa Tomei as the love interest – they have good adult chemistry and she really has matured to be a great versatile actress. Recommended.