March 15, 2015


Frank depicts the wishfulness of a frankly hackneyed mediocrity that seeks to achieve musical fame. To be fair, it is not overt what his desires are, beyond making music. So while he is unimpressive at best (truthfully he is atrocious), the protagonist does have a genuine desire of becoming an accomplished musician versus an accomplished person in society per se. Indeed, the majority of success in society and the creation of high status is incurred purely incidentally. That is the unwritten secret, because the status-seeking do not wish to listen to this whisper. Becoming something noteworthy by being something noteworthy is a confusing suggestion when the ultimate goal for them is to be the center of attention. This is predominately why so many who are magnetically attracted to Hollywood and rush from their cul-de-sacs to tinsel-town fall off so rapidly. The amount of effort to become something notable in what is the most plainest correlation of effort to status in society, acting, only leaves the truly passionate to endure. They, like most successes, love the journey. The destination is simply an after-thought.


So the protagonist here is not spending his nest egg to produce a record with his quickly adopted group because he has expectations of becoming famous. His indulgence, if we may be so brash, is in his experience with being a practicing musician. And isn’t it significant that to become a talented musician, one must devote their livelihood to such a craft, where one’s labors provide no direct and immediate return on investment? That one ultimately is producing work that may never feed himself? Again, the most spectacular artwork is created for itself, and not to fill a belly. Even the fictions such as 50 Shades of Grey, which overrun the culture, are created out of the love of its creation and giving it to the world, and not toward achieving anything more than that.


The gift is what is tenuous in Frank. The protagonist is a bit eager in giving the world the band he is comprised of, and has misplaced expectations with his own quality at providing noble artwork because he lives in the shadows of a musical genius, the titular Frank. There is a brief comment on the amplification of one’s self in the world in this age of me beset by social media. That perhaps this self-absorption contributes to the disconnection between the protagonist’s musical quality in his mind and how it is in reality. Thankfully however we do not see any resentment or disappointment when his efforts to grasp at his dreams, even if they are unrealistic, come undone. He has the wherewithal to apologize for dismantling the musical experiment that was the band which hired him to play the keys.


He leaves then, back to his daily grind, as someone who pretended to be a musician rather than a practicing one. Is this a disappointing fate for himself? Assuredly it is. But hopefully, through this experience, he does not find himself defeated, having seen the heights to which he has yet to climb, but instead finds somehow encouragement and motivation to persist at his evening keyboarding practices. Hopefully in other words, he does not become like the millions before him who quit because the journey is too difficult and the affordability of mediocrity is more comfortable. Hopefully, he really did discover that he is a musician who loves inventing sound to be shared with the world.


Grade: A-



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