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Frankie Starlight Review

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This is a story of a man (Walker), suffering from dwarfism, who writes an autobiographical account of his life. In flashbacks, we see how he was conceived to a woman (Parillaud) at the end of WWII as she attempts to smuggle herself to America on a troop ship. Caught, she is put ashore back in her homeland of Ireland where she struggles to bring up her dwarfed child.

★★★★★

This strange Irish yarn — based on Chet Raymos’ novel The Dork Of Cork — is fashioned around a dwarf’s memories of his French mother, Bernadette Bois (Parillaud). After her parents’ death in World War II, she stows away on a troop ship headed for America. But, despite her sexual favours to the crew, she is off-loaded, pregnant, in Dublin where married customs officer Jack Kelly (Byrne) falls for her and, when she gives birth to Frankie, a dwarf, takes care of them both.
All goes well until Jack’s psychotic daughter Emma (Georgina Cates), catches her dad and Bernadette in the sack. Mortified, Jack tells his wife and — in a canny move on Mrs. Kelly’s part — she takes in the French woman and her son. Before he leaves town for good with his family, Jack, a keen astronomer, tells young Frankie all he knows about the stars — hence the whimsical title. The dwarf and his maman are then whisked off to America by a dimwitted but goodhearted Texan (Matt Dillon) who came to Dublin in search of a certain French girl from a ship many years ago.
This is all amiable stuff, but the use of flashback often makes for disjointed viewing. The performances, too, are mixed, with Parillaud satisfied to wander mysteriously through most scenes. However, the superb Corban Walker and Alan Pentony (who play old and young Frank respectively) are excellent where the script runs thin.

Top performances marred by shoddy script.