The indie Frank could have been dismissed as trying too hard to be quirky, but it transcends these trappings with a surprisingly heartfelt ending. The film gets serious very quickly in its final scenes, turning out a rather thought-provoking story. Frank’s story revolves around a group of eccentrics and the struggling musician that follows them, their leader who happens to wear a Frank Sidebottom head 24/7. They go to a cabin to make the best music ever, which is really just an odd assortment of instruments and sounds.
Towards the end of the film, after tensions from the group causes splits- we find out who is behind the Frank Sidebottom head. In a scene preceding this, our main character finds Frank’s home and discovers who Frank really is- he’s been through an accident that somehow led him to want to hide himself from the world with the head. Frank is a damaged dreamer.
This scene- which ends the film- is a powerful one that takes the film to new heights. The main character, Jon, brings Frank to the bar where his estranged group of friends now play music. Michael Fassbender is an excellent actor- and he brings this scene home. His performance is raw and vulnerable. We see Frank’s childlike naiveté and shyness as he softly starts to speak into the microphone, the band picking up as his words turn to song. Frank is overwhelmed tears of happiness as he sings what is truly in his heart. He can finally be himself and has found a home with people he loves. “I love you all” It’s a sweet and sincere moment to see them all reunited. The ending gives me a reason to care about these people, more than just because they are quirky and weird.
Our main character, after all the mess ups and chaos he’s created breaking up this group along way, has now finally managed to put them back together. He is happy knowing that Frank is in a better place, where he belongs, and he leaves the bar.
The final scenes allow the Frank to make a statement on creativity and mental illness. When Jon visits Frank’s home, he assumes that Frank’s accident allowed him to become more creative. His parents tell him that Frank’s personality problems didn’t spark his artistry, instead they hindered it. Frank was also a creative and musical boy- his accident stopped him from flourishing as much as he could. This hits Jon hard. Too often the belief is that you have to suffer to make great art, or that great art is born out of your tragedy. Our main character muses on this throughout the film, after many unsuccessful attempts to create his own “masterpiece”, he often wishes he had a tragic and flawed life to allow his creativity to really come out.
The ending scene really seals the deal for the film- for me it was when I knew this was a great film and I really enjoyed it. The final reveal of Frank, and the final scenes, make Frank stand for so much more. Some may find the tonal shift of Frank’s broad comedy to the hard-hitting dramatics of the reveal to be a bit jarring. Others feel that knowing who’s behind the head ruins the enigma of who Frank is. He could be something to each person. By revealing the broken shell of a man that he really is, the filmmakers have ruined his powerful presence and mystery. I, however, enjoy the ultimate reveal. It elevates the film and again, saves it from falling into a trap of overabundant quirkiness.