‘Uncle Frank‘ opens in 1969 South Carolina where the Bledsoe family has gathered to celebrate the birthday of Daddy Mac (Stephen Root), the patriarch of the family. We are introduced to Betty Bledsoe (Sophia Lillis), who stands out from her family, and even the family members don’t pay much attention to her. The only person who does is Uncle Frank. Frank Bledsoe (Paul Bettany) is a literature professor at New York University and encourages Betty to be the person she wants to be instead of the person others want her to be. She starts by changing her nickname to Beth, and four years later, we see her enrolling at New York University. One day, she and her boyfriend gatecrash a party thrown by Uncle Frank and meet Walid aka Wally (Peter Macdissi) who has been Uncle Frank’s longtime partner. As Beth is trying to deal with this news, a phone call changes everything.
Coming out to family is not easy at any age
In a scene, Uncle Frank mentions that he is 46 and at that moment in the movie, apart from Beth and his sister don’t know about his truth. We learn through a series of flashbacks that Daddy Mac had discovered about his truth, and it was his reaction that made Uncle Frank sure that his truth will not be accepted in the family. The way the family reacts when the truth comes out eventually is something that would make everyone cry and at the same time, give anyone the inspiration they need to reveal their truth to the loved ones.
The road movie we all need
Three distinct stories are rolled into one movie. The first is about Frank Bledsoe, who sees his two worlds colliding and doesn’t know what to expect. The second is Beth Bledsoe, who has finally left her family to become her own person, and the third is their journey back to the place they used to call home. With all the barriers down, they talk about things that matter like how Frank first knew he was gay or how Beth was sure she wasn’t. It is this part of the movie that will stay with you the longest.
Paul Bettany and Peter Macdissi steal the show
While there are some excellent actors like Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root, and Steve Zahn, it is Paul Bettany and Peter Macdissi’s scenes together that were the highlight of the movie. Their chemistry together would make you root for the couple, and their emotional moments are sure to tear you up. We definitely haven’t seen enough of these actors on screen.
WATCH OR NOT:
Uncle Frank is a story, unlike the LGBTQ+ movies we see today. It is set in a different time and therefore showcases different sets of struggles, especially because the lead character is already living his life. If you enjoy such movies, you should definitely give this one a watch.
Director: Alan Ball
Writer: Alan Ball
Cast: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root, Steve Zahn
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video