Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘deaf’

I just rewatched Dear Frankie.  I’d guess it’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve watched it, but it’s been a while since the last time.  I wish I could come up with words to truly describe how the movie makes me feel.  But the emotion is too raw, too primal, too pure to be accurately intellectualized.  I’ll try my best though.

In some ways the movie seems perfect to me.  Perfectly told, for one.  It follows my old acting teacher’s plot model.  Stasis-conflict-stasis.  It starts with Lizzie, Lizzie’s mother, and Frankie moving yet again, continuing to live in limbo.  Suspended fear.  With the discovery that Frankie’s fictional father’s ship is about to arrive in the town they just moved to, Lizzie suddenly has to produce the man.

With the introduction of the stranger hired to be Frankie’s father, things start to change.  Well, they started to change with the epiphany earlier.  The introduction is the change.

I don’t feel like continuing the plot analysis.  It’s not what I started for anyway.  Watch the movie.  It’s good.

More than being a perfectly crafted story that ties up all its loose ends while still leaving delicious questions, it feels like a perfect picture of boylove.  It’s odd since the stranger isn’t a boylover, but in a way that adds to the perfection.  It’s a story of a man and a boy who are unrelated and don’t know each other, yet still the man comes to love the boy.  Adding even more to the story’s relevance, the relationship is born out of a lie.  Beauty out of ugliness.

I think that the…not really emotion, but…it’s a word used in the sims…motives!  The motive that…motivates is need.  Both for the movie and for boylove.  Needing, being needed, and needing to be needed.  Frankie needs a father.  He has love.  His mother, grandmother and even neighbor love him.  So does the girl in his class.  But they’re all female.  Frankie has been exchanging letters with his “father” for years, and is partially satisfied in that, but he needs to connect with him in a more real, concrete way.  He probably doesn’t even realize this need until he faces the possibility of it being denied.  Of the ship coming in but not being visited by his father.

Just like the classical love story has a damsel in distress and a hero to save the day, a boylove story has a boy in need and a man to fulfill it.  A boylover responds to that hunger for love.  We need to be needed.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Gerard Butler, the Stranger, is needed.  Or rather, Frankie has a need.  Lizzie recognizes his need and so employs a man to fulfill it.  The Stranger also recognizes the need ans so reluctantly agrees to participate in the duplicitous arrangement.  The offer of money doesn’t hurt either.

Up to this point it’s a story about a mother struggling to give her son what he needs.  It tugs at the heartstrings of boylovers (and probably mothers, and I’d hope everyone else as well) but it doesn’t really become a boylove story until the Stranger and Frankie meet.  Frankie’s need has been building up the whole time, and when it becomes greatest as his “father” stands before him and he perceives that it’s safe – it won’t be snatched away.  It isn’t a dream or a trick – he rushes forward and throws his arms around him.

At that point, the Stranger stands in shock, hands held out in the air away from the small body clinging to him, and I sit in front of the screen in agony, the words “just touch him” screaming through my mind, physically tense with the desire to act.  To fill that need.

Finally the Stranger comes to grips, truly, with the boy’s need and with the fact that he is needed.  And he commits to it, placing his hands on the boy’s back gently giving him that physical gesture of love.  The tension drains from my body and I smile, fulfilled myself seeing the boy’s need fulfilled.

The Stranger is no longer just standing in for written words.  He has started to fill the boy’s need, and having tasted that ecstasy, has started to need it himself.

That’s when it becomes a boylover story.  When the stranger finds himself needing to be needed.  It is subtle at first, but becomes more obvious at the end of that first day.  The Stranger sees in Frankie that one day isn’t enough.  Frankie still needs more of him, so he sets himself against the wishes of Lizzie and her mother.  That’s dangerous.  he’s fulfilled his agreement, he’s going to get his money, but he chooses to fight to continue fulfilling Frankie’s need.  Maybe that doesn’t yet show his own need.   One could argue that he doesn’t plant the idea of one more day for himself (and he doesn’t really.  He does it for Frankie) but his own need could certainly add to the motivation to defy the rules.  At the very least it shows he is willing to fight for Frankie’s need at cost to himself, and that shows love.  Not just showing love to the boy, but loving the boy in himself.

His own need becomes strongest and clearest right at the end, when he asks to say goodbye.  Frankie has had two great days with his “father” and is now asleep.  If he’d woken up the next morning to the story, “you fell asleep and your father carried you home but had to go back to the ship,” he’d have accepted that without much sorrow.  In a way, that would have been the poetic thing to do.  Not to mention the parental thing.  Let the exhausted boy sleep.

But the Stranger doesn’t.  He asks if he can say goodbye.  That’s his own need.  He doesn’t do it for Frankie.  The Stranger needs the boy’s love.  He needs to be needed.  He wants to see the boy’s longing for him, and for Frankie to see his own longing.

That’s boylove.  Needing to be needed.  Dear Frankie tells a story of that need and tells it perfectly, making me feel happy/sad, hot/cold, excited/depressed, energetic/lazy.

I’m not needed.  Maybe that is the ever unknowable longing that seeing boys makes me feel.  Or part of it, anyway.  Maybe I have, in trying to understand how the movie works, identified my own elusive need.  I need to be needed.  But I’m not.  Not like that.  There are plenty of boys out there who have great need.  Even great need for nothing but love.  And I am very able and willing to meet that need.  But they don’t need me.  Not yet.  But I am now on the road to changing that.  And that gives me hope that has taken the edge off the depression that usually follows a movie like this.

Read Full Post »