“Róise & Frank”


Rotten Tomatoes (4/5), Metacritic (8/10), Letterboxd (4/5), Imdb.com (8/10), TMDB.com (4/5)

How refreshing it is to watch a sweet, touching family film without it oozing enough sugary syrup to make even the most hardened stomach nauseous. Such is the case with the latest offering from writer-directors Rachael Moriarity and Peter Murphy, a warm, loving, heartfelt tale about a profoundly saddened and withdrawn Irish widow, Róise (Bríd Ní Neachtain), who springs back to life with the arrival of a mysterious stray dog whom she suspects is the reincarnation of her late husband. While those in her life are supremely skeptical, she can’t deny the plethora of synchronicities that occur that reveal the tail-wagging rascal’s true nature. By coming back, “Frank” helps his wife emerge from her prolonged grief and assists others, such as a geeky young neighbor boy in becoming a proficient hurling player, a sport that the dog’s human predecessor fanatically loved. But there’s even more to Frank’s return, as seen in a heart-tugging series of unexpected twists and turns that will positively leave viewers teary-eyed with joy. Despite a few predictable story elements, “Róise & Frank” nevertheless manages to delight in a natural, emotionally grounded way that never seems forced or artificial, thanks to its fine performances, breezy writing, beautiful cinematography of the Irish landscape and affecting original score. This enchanting Gaelic language offering will charm audiences to no end without ever resorting to schmaltz or manipulation, earning every reaction it evokes. Like its four-legged protagonist, this one could indeed leave viewers coming back for more.