Starring Bríd NÍ Neachtain Róise & Frank is an Irish film about grief and loss and how people can find the most unusual ways to cope.
When the film opens we see that Róise (Ní Neachtain) is still reeling from the loss of her beloved husband two years previous. She has a routine. She’ll eat some food, drink some tea and when the time calls for it she goes to the local shop to restock. Then one day something changes. A random dog finds his way onto her path and seems to be quite the nuisance.
He follows her everywhere she goes and she doesn’t like the attention. That is until he begins to exhibit unusual moments of humanity. This stray knows things about Róise that only her husband would know and at the point she is in her life, it feels like she needs this regardless of it being real or a part of some delusion.
Do you know Frank?
Róise & Frank is a sweet film. I found it quite moving and the performances for the most part were suitably believable. There are moments where the performances can come across as cartoonish but they were few and far between. Also the chemistry Frank has with not just Róise but the whole community he returns to is compelling. By the end of the film, I was rooting for him and his return to the hurling community. It’s not Air Bud but there’s still a surprisingly heartfelt sports film tucked within this film about grief and coping with it. It’s also fantastic to see hurling get such a loving dedication on screen. Knowing that several countries have seen this film and now know that hurling exists makes me quite proud.
Directors Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy also showcase the beauty of Waterford in this film. Like other Irish directors, they know how to celebrate the beauty of the island without going too over the top with it. It’s definitely a less is more decision and it works for the down-to-earth characters and the world they live in. Even if there is a supposed spirit inhabiting a dog the film still feels surprisingly relatable. One scene involving Frank and Róise’s son Alan (Cillian O’Gairbhi) will ring far too true for many children and their fathers. It’s sweet, it’s silly as well as bizarre and I loved it.
What ultimately worked for me with Róise & Frank is the ending. The ending to me the only way the film could have ended and I absolutely loved it. Between Róise & Frank and An Cailín Ciúin Irish cinema is doing very well. Check out when it releases in cinemas on September 16th.
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