Everyone is walking down roads, yet no one knows where they’re going. That’s the charming notion behind Ira Sach‘s Frankie, an art-house darling that’s a blend of bright rays, crashing seas, and languorous vistas, give it the feel of a “beach read,” or cinematic ASMR. You won’t walk away learning anything new, but you will go home and check the price of plane tickets to the setting of Sintra, Portugal.
“…isn’t really concerned about Frankie’s exposure to bystanders…concerned about what the exposure…to her terminal cancer…”
From the first note of music over the white-washed imagery–Dickon Hinchliffe delicately playing the piano–Sachs warns us to expect nothing more, or less, than people hanging out. Isabelle Huppert’s Frankie is skinny dipping in the pool. “It’s okay, I’m photogenic,” she tells her concerned granddaughter Maya (Sennia Nunnua). Maya isn’t really concerned about Frankie’s exposure to bystanders, so much as she is concerned about what the exposure of sun could do to her terminal cancer.
By now, every cinephile knows that Huppert is indeed photogenic. The French actress has the same star power now as she did when she was working with Claude Chabrol in the ’70s. The only difference is time. No one can act forever, and Sachs has reflexively cast Huppert as a European phenom enjoying her last vacation before her sun inevitably sets.