Frank & Lola full movie review - A young girl falls for an older man, a stable man, and she tries to adapt to such a life after living with instability for years.
Trigger Warning(s): Conversations about Rape
Review (with Spoilers)
Lola (Imogen Poots) | Frank (Michael Shannon)
In essence, it is a love story. A young girl, a college student at the time, named Lola meets this chef named Frank. He cooks for her and while they say the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the same seems to apply to women too. But what about the head? The brain can easily express thoughts and feelings, but sometimes it is hard to explain its actions. So when Lola's past comes back to haunt her, so comes the question if Frank is willing to work with Lola or if her issues are too much for what he makes out to be a lonely but simple life.
A Dynamic Duo
What I loved about this movie the most was Poots and Shannon's chemistry. It isn't heavily sexual, despite them dating, but it still has all the intimacy that is expected with two characters or people having sex. It's the way they look at each other, trying to figure out the other's thoughts, trying to see if what they are saying will be taken well, rejected, or admired. It is this back and forth of never really being able to leave the other person no matter what is said and done for they got a hold on you. One which, no matter how much time passes, and how long you have been absent from each other's company, it takes one glance and all those old feelings come back and you are back in their lives again. That chemistry between these two is such a driving force that it pushes Poots to seem like she can be more than just the cute blonde romantic interest and makes Shannon seem like he can be more than this guy you would imagine as the perfect movie villain.
Admittedly, when it comes to young actresses there is always this question of were they hired because they were pretty or hired because they are talented. As we all know, Hollywood is a superficial industry and a cute face and being likable on set can keep a woman working for a hell of a long time. However, for those like me who have become sort of numb to physical allure, it makes you very skeptical.
With Poots, however, she continues to prove that when you think of actresses who are hired because they can perform, the ones who will make you feel something, her name deserves to be on that list. For Lola, with Poots charm and look of innocence, it is difficult to not understand how even a sort of recluse like Frank didn't get snagged. Yet, then we meet her mom, hear about her past, and we are reminded that as much as she is Frank's girlfriend, she has a life of her own and has had a life before meeting him. One which is on the up and up thanks to her ability to socialize, but it hasn't been all daisies and macaroons.
There is always this appearance of suffering when it comes to Shannon, and that looks is used well here. Frank, though not necessarily said to us, is alone and lonely. All he has is his work and while he gets invites from his co-workers to go out and hang, that isn't strongly his interest. Based off the life we see him have, his enjoyment doesn't necessarily come from people. It is cooking, so with Lola entering his life there is this change. One perhaps hard to deal with, or even recognize, for now, he has to adjust his life to accommodate this young girl who he loves but brings up all these insecurities.
On The Fence
They Don't Stay With You
Did I enjoy the performances of this movie? Yes. However, neither of their performances I feel stay with you. They don't hit you hard emotionally, these aren't the go-to characters for when you praise these actors or when you have a need to defend them. Is it part of the case you build to say these two are perhaps underrated? Yes. But that is only if you saw the film around the time you had the argument. Otherwise, you may one day be going through their IMDb filmography and question if you saw this movie and only realize you did once you read the synopsis or after rewatching the first few minutes.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
As just noted, the main issue is there isn't a grade A performance from this movie. It could be because the script isn't top gear, but considering how they made it work despite that, there lies the reason for this being mixed. What could have been a bad movie if others were in their roles became something adequate. Maybe not the most memorable, but a decent way to spend an hour and a half.