Except for the kitschy title, and popular soap opera theme, Framily (friend + family) is a surprisingly great drama that holds your interest from beginning to end; the film is well written and beautifully enacted by everyone concerned. What I appreciate most of all is that each role, no matter how small, is an intricate necessity for the movie to work as a whole.
Filmmaker Joachim Hedén’s Framily is the story of seven adults—consisting of a married couple, an almost married couple, and three singles—all residing in a one-family home. This odd situation comes about when the seemingly stable Ethan (Richard Gunn) inherits his recently deceased father’s rambling estate near San Francisco. An only child, Ethan’s goal is to regain the siblings he never had, and to that end, invites six friends to move in with him. As you may imagine, things begin to happen and certain unexpected issues are revealed.
What separates Hedén from many directors of dramatic works of this type is that he has an uncanny sensibility about human nature. Very astutely, he is able to extract each character’s thoughts so that we can read them in the actor’s face. As a result, the film ceases to be make believe and begins to feel uniquely, and disturbingly, real.
Framily is an intelligent film, and none of the situations we observe portray the ridiculous or contrived. This in itself is miraculous, considering the less than mainstream social arrangement that Ethan has engineered. In the surprise ending, we are left wondering about Ethan’s true motive and success. Has he really created happiness and contentment for himself and the others— or something better off left to chance?
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