“FIXING FRANK”–an intense psychological study

“Fixing Frank”

An Intense Psychological Study

Amos Lassen

Based on the stage play of the same name, “Fixing Frank” (Here TV and Genius Entertainment) is one of those movies that is not easily forgotten. This is not your typical movie, there is not a great deal of action but there is a lot of talk. The exchanges between the characters are enlightening and they cause the viewer to examine himself. What at first appears to be quite funny is indeed very serious and provokes thought as well as self examination.

Dan Butler of Frasier fame stars as psychologist Dr. Arthur Apsey who supposedly can convert gay men to straight. Frank Johnston (Andrew Elvis Miller) goes undercover to check out Apsey’s reliability. Frank’s lover, Jonathan (Paul Provesnsa) convinces him to find out what the doctor is all about. He poses as a gay man having an identity crisis and blatantly lies to the doctor (or so we are led to believe). We soon wonder if Frank really wants to be straight and is his lover using him as a pawn in the game. Does the doctor have his own agenda? What appears, it seems, is not what is and we are treated to a psychological game of cat and mouse—we suddenly realize that it is not only the actors who are involved, but the audience is as well. It seems that all of the characters engage in banter of some sort and the levels of truth are not easy to decipher. The film works towards a finale that holds nothing of what is expected and it is the mastery of the actors that make this drama so compelling. Important questions are raised here. We have a chance to look at gay men who are unhappy in who they are, who have great difficulty in accepting themselves. We also have those gays that choose to live lives that fit into the mainstream and attempt to be “good” homosexuals and we learn how the self loathing homosexuals survive in the world today.

I must admit that after watching the film I was quite upset—not with myself but with those of our community who cannot admit who they are. If I were a drinker, I would have hit the bottle—the movie hit me that hard. It is not often that a movie can play with your mind but “Fixing Frank” does that. I hope that I am not misunderstood here. This is an important film especially by virtue of the fact that it is disturbing. How often do we go to the movies and walk away thinking about what we have seen? How often do those thoughts follow us to the point that we are literally shaken by them? This was something that used to happen with art films and it has been a long time since a film caused me to seriously think about who I am and why I am here. This is a sign of greatness. A movie that can affect the mind is an experience that we do not have a lot of. After the smoke clears along with our thoughts, we realize that we have been witness to an unusual experience. So far, by far, this is the most exciting movie I have seen this year and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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