Whatever I thought Frank was going to be, it was not what I expected. Rather than being a simple quirky comedy, this hour and a half film was full to the brim with thought provoking content. While the film is entitled Frank, I believe that the British suburbanite keyboarder Jon undergoes the most change throughout the film. But interestingly enough, Frank and Jon had more in common than Jon or I had originally thought. Frank seemed to be a genius who derived his inspiration from some internal well locked deep inside his heart and paper mache head. But what we discover as the story runs its course is that this is only part of the truth.
This film forces us to ask questions that are terribly relevant in our place and in our time. In a world inundated with social media and single sentence twitter posts, everyone is encouraged to make disciples. If you’ve only got ten or twenty, what’s your purpose, why do you exist, and most importantly, why are you taking up valuable space? Assumptions such as, “if your numbers are small, it’s not worthwhile, but if you have thousands of followers, now we’re getting somewhere.” The protagonist has bought this lie, hook, line and sinker. And while the band thinks that they are acquiring a simple keyboardist, what they have actually taken on is an anchor. This anchor and his beliefs about what is of ultimate value will plunge their modest crew deep to the bottom of the sea. As the other band members start to feel the bursting pressure in their ears as they descend, one by one, they abandon ship. But Frank listens to Jon and is wooed by his siren song, simple, good hearted, hopeful Frank stays yoked to Jon. Now that they have thousands of followers, they are revealed to be nothing more than this weeks joke, fodder for the masses to consume and ultimately spit out. The love and affirmation that Frank and Jon were seeking is simply not there, now they are alone, naked and ashamed.
But a glimmer of hope presents itself. In a scorched earth, genuine repentance can birth new life. Deep hurts can be healed by small attempts at honesty. Heartfelt contrition over how one hurts another can accomplish more than we might think. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for another person is to say sorry, and walk away. But not without making sure that the person you love is safe and at home, and able to sing the words, “I love you all, I love you all, I love you all.” While Frank is extraordinarily talented, when isolated from his friends, he becomes a hallow shell of a man. Only the true love of genuine friendship can unlock Frank’s creative impulse. The story challenges us to look at our own lives. In a world where so many people have thousands of “friends” on face book, how many of us can truly say that we are part of a family? My soul longs for this small but powerful grace.
To make music with a handful of people who care more about you than they are obsessed with the faceless masses is a rare treasure. Frank bids us to taste and see the difference between virtual and real community. While it has become a buzz word and a sales ploy, our need for what only flesh and blood can offer is as severe as ever, maybe even more in a world full of “likes”, “friends” and twitter feeds.