“Frankie,” which opens today in arthouse theaters, isn’t worth a moment of your time. It’s about a woman of means, an actress who has starred in movies and on television, who has gathered family and friends to tell them she’s dying of cancer. But they already know, so most of the time is spent walking around the admittedly beautiful surroundings with not much happening.
Isabelle Huppert is completely miscast as Frankie, delivering her lines as if each one carried an important message or deep psychological meaning. They don’t. Marisa Tomei is Irene, a hairdresser Frankie befriended on a movie set, Greg Kinnear is Tomei’s boyfriend, and Brendan Gleason plays Frankie’s husband, who is given exactly nothing to do. The rest of the extended family includes Frankie’s first husband, their son Paul (who Frankie wants to pair off with Irene despite a complete lack of attraction) and her adult step-daughter and son-in-law.
Peter Bradshaw, who reviewed “Frankie” in The Guardian after it played at Cannes, sums it up perfectly:
This is a blank, uneasy, pointless, variably acted multinational production, inertly set in the picturesque Portuguese city of Sintra – which is shot handsomely enough but with no special flair. “Frankie” looks like nothing so much as one of those late Woody Allen movies in a luxury tourist setting, only with even less possibility – in fact none at all – of any laughs. And no possibility of anything substantially serious, either.
There’s nothing much I can add, except that I give “Frankie” a 2 out of 10. It would have gotten a 1 except for my infatuation with Marisa Tomei.
Also on the stinker end of the spectrum is “Sorry We Missed You,” a British movie about a family struggling economically. Ricky, the down-on-his-luck father, hopes to provide for his family by becoming a contractor for a package delivery company. It’s a high-stress, low-reward job that keeps Ricky away from his family twelve hours a day, seven days a week, while dealing with an incredibly mean boss who has no compassion for him.
Meanwhile, his pleasant wife, Abbie, is a home health care provider who has to travel by bus because the couple sold her car so Ricky could buy a delivery van. She works hard and really cares for her clients, but puts in long evening hours and isn’t around much, either. That leaves plenty of space for their teenage son Seb to skip school, get into lots of trouble, and fight with his father. Bearing the brunt of all this stress isn’t good for anyone, including the young daughter, Lisa Jane, who just wants everyone to get along.
There isn’t a single moment of happiness for any of the protagonists (or antagonists, for that matter). It’s just one horrible day after another. Even when Ricky takes Lisa Jane along for a package delivery shift, and she’s enjoying helping and spending time with him, he gets bitten in the butt by a dog.
Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to give viewers a lesson in the exploitation of gig economy workers, but instead they’ve drowned us in depressing scene after depressing scene — all the way up to the movie’s abrupt ending with no climax, no denouement. It’s as if they had no idea how to resolve their story, so they just faded to black. What a waste.
I give “Sorry We Missed You” a 1.5 out of 10.