Monday, November 23, 2020

Uncle Frank Review: A Coming of Age Film With An All Star Cast and Painful, Heartfelt Story

Paul Bettany	...	Frank Bledsoe Sophia Lillis	Sophia Lillis	...	Beth Bledsoe Peter Macdissi	Peter Macdissi	...	Walid 'Wally' Steve Zahn	Steve Zahn	...	Mike Bledsoe Judy Greer	Judy Greer	...	Kitty Bledsoe Margo Martindale	Margo Martindale	...	Mammaw Bledsoe Stephen Root	Stephen Root	...	Daddy Mac Lois Smith	Lois Smith	...	Aunt Butch Jane McNeill	Jane McNeill	...	Neva Caity Brewer	Caity Brewer	...	Marcia Hannah Black	Hannah Black	...	Janis Bledsoe Michael Banks Repeta	Michael Banks Repeta	...	11-Year-Old Bullet (as Banks Repeta) Isabella Pambianchi	Isabella Pambianchi	...	8-Year-Old Mae Ray Burgess Jenkins	Burgess Jenkins	...	Beau Zach Strum	Zach Strum	...	Tee Dub

Release date: November 25, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale
Director: Alan Ball

In 1973, when Frank Bledsoe (Bettany) and his 18-year-old niece Beth (Lillis) take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina for the family patriarch's funeral, they're unexpectedly joined by Frank's lover Wally (Macdissi).

Director: Alan Ball Writer: Alan Ball    Produced by  Alan Ball	...	producer Bill Block	...	producer Michael Costigan	...	producer Isaac Ericson	...	executive producer Andrew Golov	...	executive producer Peter Macdissi	...	producer Stephanie Meurer	...	producer Bob Osher	...	executive producer Josh Peters	...	executive producer Christopher Tricarico	...	executive producer Jay Van Hoy	...	producer
Uncle Frank mainly revolves around a small town South Carolina family, despite having detours in New York.  And the family is perfectly set up by the all star cast.  It really draws you into the whole dynamic with the way that everyone interacts.  And the standout of this family is Frank (Bettany), who definitely feels like a different character compared to the rest of the group; he stands out but you are not sure why at the beginning.  He is reserved but charismatic, someone that you want to know more about but who might not let you learn any more.  And his interactions with his niece Beth (Lillis) form a large part of the film.  As Frank and Beth grow closer and more trusting of each other, you gain a deeper understanding of both of their characters.  And the friendship between Frank and Wally (Macdissi) is also wonderful.  It is layered and nuanced, with Wally being the more caring and outgoing of the two and Frank the more cautious and quiet.  But Macdissi is wonderful as Wally, adding so much heart and emotion to this otherwise fairly reserved film.  

As you would expect with a movie about family, there is plenty of heart, love, and drama.  And this movie is first and foremost a drama; it is front and center during the film despite there being snippets of heartfelt and humorous parts.  The movie is broken into a few parts, with an introduction, some time in New York, and a road trip ultimately ending up back in South Carolina.  And through this all you learn more about the characters and their background.  This is helped along by some really fantastic writing.  It is tight and definitive, nothing is wasted in this film.  Each line gives you a new dimension to the characters and their relationships.    

And this movie is an interesting coming of age film, but not like you would expect it to be.  In this film, you have multiple characters coming into their own as they test themselves and their relationships with their family.  The journey is both entertaining and painful to watch, but it is one that will captivate you from the start.  And the cinematography throughout this journey is really wonderful, with plenty of thoughtful, understated shots.  The film is set in some very beautiful areas and the camera makes that clear from the beginning.  And on top of that, the movie has a wonderful soundtrack to effectively amplify the drama.   

Uncle Frank is a wonderful, period coming of age with an all star cast, fantastic writing, and a painful family story filled with heart, humor, and drama. 

Watch it.

Coming of Age South South Carolina New York Family Drama Queer LBGTQ Gay Relationship Humor Comedy Road Trip Love
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Uncle Frank will be released on Amazon Prime Video on November 25, 2020.

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