UNCLE FRANK – A Review by John Strange
Homosexuality was a hot-button topic in the 1960s and 1970s, especially in the south. Uncle Frank is a story that could happen in nearly any southern state during that era. Many families had their own “Uncle Frank” whose private life was never talked about.
In Uncle Frank, Beth Bledsoe (Sophia Lillis) has escaped her small town to attend college in New York. The same college where her Uncle Frank is a professor. She has a shock when she discovers her uncle’s secret at an off-campus party.
The secret doesn’t upset her, she understands why his sexual preferences have been kept from the family. It also explains why Frank rarely comes home.
When the family patriarch, Daddy Mac (Stephen Root), dies suddenly, Beth has to beg Frank to return home with her for the funeral. Frank’s boyfriend, Wally (Peter Macdissi) urges him to go as well.
The story from here gives one a good look at the South of the early 70s and the way the average person there would see and deal with “those people.” The reactions they encounter on their trip home feed Frank’s fears about how his family would react should the truth come out.
Uncle Frank is a wonderful film with strong players and an excellent script. The storyline eases us into the world that Frank inhabits at the college. And gives us brief flashbacks telling us what the true relationship between the man and his father was based upon.
The film is a great watch and I give it 4.5-stars. Uncle Frank’s subject matter may not be for everyone, but I think that those who choose to watch it will enjoy it. Our family isn’t always perfect, but they are all we have in this world. Frank learns this lesson to his relief.
Director: Alan Ball
Cast: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Lois Smith, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root
MPAA Rating: R (for language, some sexual references and drug use)
Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars
Runtime: 95 Min.
Movie Site: Amazon Prime: Uncle Frank
Trailer: Uncle Frank Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.