Uncle Frank premiered on 25th November 2020 on Netflix and 25th January 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by Alan Ball, the 95-minute-long film stars Paul Bettany, Peter Macdissi, and Sophia Lillis alongside other cast members.
It’s Not A Sin
Time and again we see real life and reel life situation around homophobia and how individuals suffer at the hands of their families and religion. Uncle Frank revolves around the lives of Betty Bledsoe (Sophia Lillis), a thoughtful, well-read, and studious teenager, and her uncle Frank Bledsoe (Bettany), a professor in NYC, who is treated as an outcast in his own family. Frank lives in New York and inspires Betty to be what she wants.
Upon her arrival in NYC 4 years later, she stumbles upon his uncle’s sexuality and accepts it with an open mind and heart. But nobody in the Bledsoe family back in their hometown, other than Frank’s sister, knows about this. Their father Daddy Mac (Stephen Root) is a devout orthodox Christian who condemns Frank.
She meets Wally (Peter Macdissi), Frank’s boyfriend. A considerate man who is excited to meet Betty (now Beth) and belongs to an Arabic country where he can be hanged for his sexuality. Things are fine here but it takes a turn after Daddy Mac’s sudden demise which requires both Beth and Frank to visit their hometown for the funeral and here onwards we see their road trip and explore everything they feel and fear.
Uncle Frank widely deals with repression, sexuality, and the guilt that is loaded on individuals by their own family. Frank carries an awful amount of pain and burden because of his father. However, the film is a classic take on the entire idea and not exactly a social commentary but is rather heartwarming and honest. We see the world through Beth’s eyes here, so it’s safe to say that the entire idea of missing on on the innermost grief and pain of both Frank and Wally.
We see Frank’s demons as he attends the funeral – an old lost love, alcohol, and repressed sexuality. But the question here is that will Frank be free of all the pain after the death of the dominant patriarch who calls him filth?
And other than the entire idea of homophobia and sexuality, the film is also about Beth’s journey into the world and how she blooms into a better person. Uncle Frank is not one of those teary movies but is easy to watch with a cast that fits. It is a coming-of-age movie but is not exactly as thought-provoking as some people might want it to be. The film is rather simple and sometimes even predictable but it’s worth your hour. The film is the story of Beth’s, Frank’s, and conservative Southerners as they embark on a journey that changes something within them forever.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Uncle Frank, by the end of it, is a feel-good film and the makers end the story on high and happy grounds. The film is well-paced and wraps up its idea nicely and neatly without any rough edges.
Uncle Frank is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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