Uncle Frank

Uncle Frank

Alan Ball (2020)

95min
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Review

Our Score
Paul Bettany invigorates this attractive but tonally erratic 1970s-set drama about a New York professor struggling to reconcile his new gay life with his Southern upbringing. In the wake of a family tragedy, he sets out on the road home with his niece (Sophia Lillis) and live-in partner (Peter Macdissi) and, along the way, suffers flashbacks to his youth and the romance that changed the course of his life. This first feature from writer/director Alan Ball (TV's True Blood) since 2007's Towelhead is alternately gut-wrenching, melodramatic and affectingly poignant, and features a warmly nuanced performance by Bettany. However, the film constantly threatens to say something profound before opting instead for easy sentiment. Events become increasingly hackneyed in the telling, to the point that a dewy-eyed final act rings false. This is a shame because otherwise this is a handsomely staged and well-intentioned movie, with vibrant performances that enliven its problematic script.

Cast & Crew

Frank Paul Bettany
Beth Sophia Lillis
Wally Peter Macdissi
Mike Steve Zahn
Kitty Judy Greer
Mammaw Margo Martindale
Daddy Mac Stephen Root
Aunt Butch Lois Smith
Marcia Caity Brewer
Janis Hannah Black
16-Year-Old Frank Cole Doman
Director Alan Ball
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColour