Frankie Starlight

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This tale of a physically impaired Irishman (a dwarf) and the literary success of his family reminiscences does itself no favours by courting comparison with producer Noel Pearson's My Left Foot. Frankie's mam Bernadette (Parillaud) lands in Ireland by accident after WWII (she's discovered stowing away on a ship from France with homebound GIs). In Cork, naval officer Jack Kelly (Byrne) sees her alone and pregnant and becomes a father figure to young Fran├žois (Pentony). Later, Frankie takes a shine to one of Jack's daughters, Emma, until the Kellys are transferred elsewhere. Next, from Texas, comes biker Terry Klout (Dillon), who whisks Bernsie and Frank to the States. Meanwhile, the adult Frank (Walker) is selling his life story to a publisher, reading the reviews, attending book-signings, crossing paths once more with Emma. Alas, the effect of these episodes is feeble. Whereas My Left Foot built up around the formidable figure of Christy Brown, here there's a void. The diffuseness is central to the star-gazing metaphor, but more than a tight plot is needed to entrance the audience, and director Lindsay-Hogg's picture postcard naturalism isn't it. The film does, however, have some charm, and the performances help it amble along pleasantly.

Release details

Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Screenwriter: Chet Raymo, Ronan O'Leary
Cast: Anne Parillaud
Matt Dillon
Gabriel Byrne
Rudi Davies
Georgina Cates
Alan Pentony
Corban Walker
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