Laura’s Mom just died and before her death, she promised her mother that she’d definitely DEFINITELY not miss the road trip with her friends the summer before college. There’s just one little hitch: Frank.
Laura’s mother was Frank’s caregiver. Frank has Tourette’s. Some might say severe Tourette’s, both physical and verbal. He’s also reclusive and withdrawn in his spare time. As you can imagine, replacing Frank’s caregiver proves to be a Challenge with a capital C. Super awkward solution: bring foul-mouthed, 59 year old Frank on a road trip with a trio of recent high school grads. It’s the perfect plan to allow Laura to continue to suppress her grief, undermine Frank’s independence, and completely ruin what was supposed to be a fun and carefree vacation. Everyone’s thrilled.
Garrett M. Brown is Frank, and he manages to do that rare thing where he reflects the humour in the situation without disrespecting the disease or the person who has it. Frank is a very real person and we constantly see beyond his disease until we eventually don’t see it at all.
The movie has the support of the Tourette Association of America who stated “We are proud to support projects such as Hello, My Name Is Frank. This film portrays Frank as an authentic, relatable character and helps the audience see the human being behind the Tourette.” That’s a pretty important endorsement but you and I both know that any movie, no matter how noble, must also be watchable. Does this one pass the test? This Asshole says yes. It’s an indie film with blockbuster-caliber acting. Brown deserves props but the young actresses (Rachel DiPillo, Hayley Kiyoko, Mary Kate Wiles) surprisingly don’t suck. Does that sound cynical? Well, I am. So when I come across fresh talent that actually IS talent, I’m chuffed. First-time feature director Dale Peterson is a little heavy-handed at times but otherwise keeps the actors’ chemistry in focus and lets the movie do its thing. And for a little icing on this cupcake of a film: the soundtrack is solid. Really solid.