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My mother Frank

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

My mother Frank is the story of 51-year-old Frances Regina Aileen Nano Kennedy, aka Frank (Sinéad Cusack), who is forced to grow up by her 18-year-old son David (Matthew Newton).

Frank has created a safe, secure, if somewhat bizarre, world for herself - and it's boring her to death. She's an eccentric, bad-tempered, dry-witted, devoutly Roman Catholic, martyrish, over-protective mother, with a seriously bad memory, living her life through her grown-up children and driving them absolutely crazy in the process. She even wakes David in the middle of his wet dreams.

Everyone thinks Frank should get a life - which she does when she enrols in a degree at the same university that David attends, much to his horror. Soon the two worlds of mother and son collide and Frank finds herself doing battle with just about everyone, particularly Professor Mortlock (Sam Neill).

But Frank-the-worrier becomes Frank-the-warrior, a kind of geriatric Rocky, who becomes an inspiration to those around her who want to change their lives but are afraid to take the chance.

Theatrical propaganda posters

My mother Frank image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Australia drama single parent mother son university

Persons of interest

  • Sinéad Cusack .... Frances "Frank" Kennedy
  • Sam Neill .... Professor Mortlock
  • Matthew Newton .... David Kennedy
  • Rose Byrne .... Jenny
  • Sacha Horler .... Margaret
  • Celia Ireland .... Peggy
  • Lynette Curran .... Jean
  • Melissa Jaffer .... Sister Sebastian
  • Joan Lord .... Sister Bernadette
  • Nicholas Bishop .... Mick
  • Deborah Kennedy .... Receptionist
  • Hayley McElhinney .... Francine
  • Annie Byron .... Eunice
  • Pamela Hawken .... Marcia
  • Mark Lamprell .... Screenwriter
  • Mark Lamprell .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Not my mother, that's for sure.

If you've ever wondered what the phrase "a real gem" means then you should go see My mother Frank. It has wit, it has drama, it has romance and it has charm. The cast are uniformly good. The humour is real. The relationships are dynamic. Mark has written a great script and made an even better film.

My mother Frank is a rare film in that it's about a mature woman. Mature women are considered to be box office death because they aren't young men. There's also the fact that this flick celebrates a woman's maturity rather than having her try to be young (and male). Certainly, she mimics her son's life, but she does it entirely on her own terms.

Enough with the feminism.

Sinéad performs solidly, her batty mother is so entirely like a batty mother she's scary. Matthew is the complete opposite, a beaming ray of light and optimism to her morbid infertility. The two face off aggressively throughout the film and it's the depth of their performances that provides real punch when David discovers that Frank has Alzheimer's. There's genuine terror in his eyes, the type of thing normally captured only by news cameras, not film. Yowza.

The threads of David & Frank's lives intertwine like the double helix of DNA. Both are seeking life, but for David it's filled with the optimism of youth while for Frank it's filled with the doubts of middle age. As their paths mirror, cross and separate you get a greater sense of what each one really means: contrast creates clarity.

My mother Frank is a real gem that's full of joy, lust, anger and passion, that's replete with humour and sorrow. It's a film that I want you to experience so you know what life is like. Bon appetit.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

95 minutes (1:35 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 7 February 2000

Cinema surveillance images

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