Dear Frankie falls into the real gem category. It's this tender little story that takes place in Scotland. It stars Sharon Small who also plays Detective Lynley's sidekick and a woman who looks like the actress who plays Detective Lynley's wife, so at first I thought it was a Detective Lynley reunion, but in fact the second actress is Emily Mortimer, not Lesley Vickerage. There's an excellent child actor, Jack McElhone, who has this fantastic ability to express a range of emotions just by cocking his head and raising his brows. And Dear Frankie stars Gerard Butler, who also plays the Phantom but looks entirely different in this movie. Granted, most people look different when there isn't a mask covering up half their face, but he seems a lot darker (and oddly enough, taller: I think it's the clothes) than in Phantom. It doesn't take long to pick up that it's the same bloke, however. He has this kind of triangular face and possibly the sexiest mouth in history, meaning his lips, not his voice, although his voice is sexy too, but hearing his (real) voice helped me understand why his Phantom singing voice confused me a bit. He's singing with a BBC type British accent laid over a northern England/Glasgow accent. It isn't bad, mind you, just puzzling.
I'm not going to talk about the plot of Dear Frankie because it is one of those movies that I actually wish I hadn't known the premise going into (although I probably wouldn't have rented it otherwise). But the movie has a gentle, unwinding quality about it, where you are revealed certain facts at certain times, without fanfare, and I'd hate to spoil that.
What you do need to know is that it is a love story (where love encompasses more than romantic love: not less, just more) and has a quiet, whimsical quality about it. I kept expecting, because I've been inundated with so many similiar plots, for the bad guys to show up (whoever they were) or for some hideous secret to be revealed (a la Phantom) or for a huge argument to ensue. Kind of like My Big Fat Greek Wedding where you keep expecting some terrible event to prevent the marriage from taking place, when, in fact, the movie is capable of keeping your interest without resorting to histrionics. Dear Frankie is the same. It's about good people, truly good people, who are good without being sentimentalized.
I don't necessarily mind histrionics, by the way. See my post below about Phantom and my much earlier post about Jason Bourne. But now and again, it's nice to see a movie that doesn't kill people off or throw people in jail so you will learn how gritty and tough life is. I find it so much more interesting to watch people dealing with gritty and tough gracefully, which is what Dear Frankie is about. (And despite the too-good-to-be-true aspect of Butler's character, it actually makes psychological sense, when you think about it.)