In Love Is Strange and Little Men, Ira Sachs established himself as an expert in small-scale, meticulously focused character driven dramas that are set within New York, syringed with humor and humanity. The latest film, Frankie, in the warmer climes of the Portuguese mountains of Sinta there is something that has been lost during the transatlantic crossing. The problem isn't that Frankie isn't good It's got a lot of strength in the acting sphere — it's just not very exciting especially when compared to the previous films he's made.
Frankie is a rather muted excessively talky and tense affair.
The action or, perhaps the inaction is carried out throughout the course of a day. Famous French actress Francoise also known as Frankie (Isabelle Huppert) has summoned the diverse family strands to be with her the second-in-command Jimmy (Brendan Gleeson) in their beautiful hillside residence. The family is comprised of the son of her Paul (Jeremie Renier) from her first marriage to Michel (Pascal Greggory) Jimmy's wife Sylvia (Vinette Robinson) who is experiencing issues and her partner Ian (Ariyon Bakare) along with their son Maya (Sennia Nenua) who is out on her own and joins the locals on the beach. The motive behind the reunion of the family is evident from the beginning ("This terrible thing can make you doubt your love and love itself") however, it takes its sweet time to come out.
Family members are circling Frankie's makeup artist buddy Ilene (Marisa Tomei) She is the one Frankie invites as a possible partner for her child, but plans go awry when she arrives along with her current partner Gary (Greg Kinnear) and who, in a bizarre way, is a second cinematographer for the Star Wars film shooting in Spain. There are some great moments such as Frankie getting drawn into the 88th birthday celebration of a fan and a sly final shot. You'd think that when three generations are battling sparks to fly – – however, Frankie is a strangely silent, almost talk-y affair with characters discussing romance and relationship mini-dramas that resemble an Eric Rohmer film based with sedatives. Huppert can perform this kind of thing while in a haze, and there are some good performances by the supporting cast (especially Tomei and Gleeson) and the location is stunning but Frankie is as a slow, thin and unpleasantly bland film.