Being Frank (2019)
Dir. Steve Sullivan / Dur. 105 mins
In A Nutshell:- The true story of a struggling musician who puts on a giant papier mache head and achieves comedy immortality.
The Good:- It’s a story that has been covered before (sort of) in a highly fictionalised way in the Michael Fassbinder-starring Frank but this is the real story of Chris Sievey, a man obsessed with music and possessed of an idiosyncratic way of looking at the world, who doesn't really discover true rock and roll stardom until he invents the oddly child-like Frank Sidebottom, a papier-mache-head-wearing cheerily-cheesy-music-playing puppet-owning oddity. My earliest memories of Frank are as a guest on children’s TV and a character in UK comic Oink! In the 80s, both of which are touched upon here.
It’s a very joyful look at the life of a man who struggled along the way. While it doesn’t shy away from touching upon those less pleasant aspects of his life, it manages to strike the right balance between trying to paint an honest picture as well providing a heartfelt tribute.
There’s a gleeful silliness and joy in the naffness of the small and provincial that feels very British about Frank. It’s the sort of thing that is culturally hard to explain to anyone outside the UK (and even to most people within the UK, in all likelihood).
The Bad:- Genuinely can't think of anything major for this section - it zipped along at a good pace and had a wealth of fascinating home movies and behind the scenes footage, pictures and homemade Sidebottom goodies that are interesting to a fan or non-fan.
The Verdict:- An enthralling insight into a genuinely unique British entertainer. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Frank or not, it’s still an enjoyable insight into a genuine outsider performer who briefly hit the mainstream for a time (seriously - he opened at Reading Festival on the same bill as bands like Nirvana back in the 90s…). Check it out.