Review by Lauryn Angel
Hello, My Name is Frank is primarily the story of Laura (Rachel DiPillo), a young woman whose mother has died just as she finishes high school Laura has the twin burden of figuring out what she wants to do with her life and what to do about Frank (Garrett M. Brown), for whom her mother was a live-in care-giver. Frank suffers from Tourette’s, and for various reasons, cannot be left to fend for himself. Despite Laura’s best efforts to find a replacement care-giver for Frank before she leaves on a post-graduation road trip with her friends Kim (Mary Kate Wiles) and Alyssa (Hayley Kioko), circumstances arise that necessitate Frank joining the girls for their adventure – even though he would much rather stay home by himself.
It would be easy for Frank’s Tourette’s to dominate the film, resulting in a well-meaning but heavy-handed message about people with the disability. Likewise, it would be easy to exploit Frank’s Tourette’s for cheap laughs. Director Dale Peterson and his co-writers Margaret Kerrison and Christine Bartsch deftly avoid these pitfalls. While Frank is funny, the humor is more a result of his genuine personality than his Tourette’s. The focus of the film is Laura and her friends, who are at a pivotal point in their lives – what happens after high school? What will they make of themselves? While all three girls face this struggle, Laura’s situation is more complex, as she feels responsible for Frank’s future as well as her own.
While the performances from the female leads feel a little stilted at times, they generally deliver solid performances. Brown, though, is fantastic as Frank, portraying him in a respectful manner, rather than in an over-the-top fashion.
While Hello, My Name is Frank is by no-means a box-office blockbuster, it is definitely worth watching, as it is heart-warming, funny, and very well-crafted. Nn VOD platforms on now.