29 December 2020 | MOscarbradley
Despite the saccharine ending one of the better LGBT films of the year.
Another family saga from the school of William Inge; don't Alaskans have family sagas? This one is courtesy of Alan Ball, he of "Six Feet Under" and "American Beauty" fame and this time he's directed as well and doing a reasonably good job of it, too. This is a coming-out as opposed to a coming-of-age story and it's Paul Bettany's "Uncle Frank", (that's the title), who is forced to come out when his neice pays him an unexpected visit and meets his lover. Later all three of them have to share a car journey from New York to Frank's hometown of Creekville when his father dies suddenly.
In typical Alan Ball fashion, this is a serio-comic family saga and the humour works better than the inevitable sentimentality. Both Bettany and Sophie Lillis, (the understanding neice), are excellent and there's good work, too, from Peter Macdissi, (the lover), Margo Martindale, (the mother), Stephen Root, (the horrible father), Steve Zahn and Judy Greer, (in-laws) and best of all, Lois Smith, (Aunt Butch). At times it feels like an extended episode of "Six Feet Under" and it certainly doesn't break new ground but even at its most saccharine it's a hard film to dislike and is one of the better LGBT films of the last year or so.