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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Melissa Leo in 'Francine'

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The story behind this sad, slight slice-of-life drama is entirely suited to the simple, DIY nature of the film it inhabits: after signing up to her local online filmmakers’ forum, Oscar-winner Melissa Leo made contact with documentary directors Brian M Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky, and simply offered her services. The result is a spare, haunting, occasionally distressing realist drama in that near-wordless Kelly Reichardt style.

Leo plays Francine, an ex-convict  trying to put her life in order. An animal lover, she takes a job at a veterinary clinic, but her inability to deal with life on the outside quickly becomes a problem. Perhaps inevitably, the major strength in ‘Francine’ is Leo’s performance: raw, fractious and (sometimes literally) naked, this is less a role, more the complete inhabitation of a restless, troubled, unpredictable woman. So it’s a shame that Cassidy and Shatzky can’t find a way to make her journey more vivid and compelling: it may be true to life, but the meandering narrative can be frustrating.

Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Duration:74 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Melanie Shatzky, Brian M Cassidy
  • Screenwriter:Brian M Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
  • Cast:
    • Melissa Leo
    • Victoria Charkut
    • Keith Leonard
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