Dear Frankie is a four hankie movie. It is a tearjerker about Lizzie, played by Emily Mortimer, who has fled from her abusive husband, and is raising her deaf son, Frankie (Jack McElhone). Instead of telling Frankie the terrible truth about his father, Lizzie tells the boy that his Dad is away at sea on a freighter named the Accra. Frankie writes to his old man, and his mother intercepts the letters and answers them herself.
Tearjerker moment number one: Lizzie says Frankie’s letters are important to her “because it’s the only way I can hear his voice.”
Everything is going well until the day that a ship named the Accra actually docks in Glasgow. Frankie assumes his father is on board, so to keep up the comforting lie she has told to her son, Lizzie decides to find a man who will pretend, temporarily, to be Frankie’s father. The man is played by Gerard Butler, who is no longer hiding his rugged good looks behind a mask as he did in the recent Phantom of the Opera. He is the fatherly stranger who brings comfort to both mother and son.
There are some lovely moments in this quiet little film, a good performance from Butler after the monumental flop of Phantom, but it is Emily Mortimer (Lovely & Amazing and Bright Young Things) as the struggling single mother who shines brightest.