“Uncle Frank”: Black Sheep of The Family Fable stirs the Soul

Accompanied by his teenage niece, a gay literature professor reluctantly returns home to attend his father’s funeral.
Initial release: January 25, 2020
Director/Writer: Alan Ball
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

 

John Smistad’s Review:

Coming out is one of the hardest, and often harshest, experiences of a gay man or woman’s life. And though the 1970’s was a decade of progressive social strides, opening up about personal sexual identity was far from fully embraced. The new domestic drama “Uncle Frank” explores this delicate dynamic circa 1973 among a deeply religious family in the deep south. Not exactly fertile ground for tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality.

Sophia Lillis, Paul Bettany and Peter Macdissi cruising together in a scene from “Uncle Frank”

British actor Paul Bettany is superb as Frank, an NYU college professor who, now in his mid-forties, has yet to come clean with all members of his family about who he is.   A road trip home for his estranged father’s funeral with his niece, Beth (Sophia Lillis in an understated yet pivotal performance), and his partner, Wally (an excellent Peter Macdissi), gradually reveals a shocking and soul crushing backstory. Writer and Director Alan Ball never allows his intensely emotional story to stray into syrupy melodrama. And we as an audience are the benefactors of his restraint.

“Uncle Frank” speaks movingly and eloquently to living the life that you choose to live. Not one that is prescribed for you. Consequences be damned. And while, as a Christian, I was a little uncomfortable here with the shots taken at our faith, in the end the prevailing message resonated with powerful reverberation.

To wit and to paraphrase, “This is my commandment, that you love one another.”

I invite you to enjoy all of my film reviews as “The Quick Flick Critic”, continually updated at https://thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com/2020/10/new-short-story-collection-now-on.html

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"Uncle Frank": Black Sheep of The Family Fable stirs the Soul
Overall
7.9/10
7.9/10
  • Acting - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Cinematography - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
    8/10
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"Uncle Frank": Black Sheep of The Family Fable stirs the Soul

Writer and Director Alan Ball never allows his intensely emotional story to stray into syrupy melodrama. And we as an audience are the benefactors of his restraint.

About John Smistad

I am a voracious writer of Movie Reviews. Check 'em out at my Blog, "The Quick Flick Critic", @: The Quick Flick Critic Thanks guys! John

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