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New Release Review (VOD) - HELLO, MY NAME IS FRANK

A group of college graduates set off on a road trip, accompanied by Frank, who happens to have severe Tourette Syndrome.




Review by Ren Zelen (@renzelen)

Directed by: Dale Peterson

Starring: Garrett M Brown, Rachel DiPillo, Mary Kate Wiles, Hayley Kiyoko, Tess Harper, Travis Caldwell



It is all credit to co-writer/director Dale Peterson that in Hello, My Name Is Frank he has succeeded in crafting a charming, authentic and frequently funny film with an endearing central character. He takes difficult subject matter and brings it to life in an accessible, constructive and rewarding way.


Any movie purporting to be comedic and having a person with a disability as the main character is skating on thin ice. In Dale Peterson’s movie, Frank is a recluse with Tourette's Syndrome. Make his disability a source of humour and one risks lapsing into cheap laughs and bad taste. Make him the object of sympathy and one risks sliding into mawkish sentimentality.

It is all credit to co-writer/director Dale Peterson that in Hello, My Name Is Frank he has succeeded in crafting a charming, authentic and frequently funny film with an endearing central character. He takes difficult subject matter and brings it to life in an accessible, constructive and rewarding way.


The story begins when Frank, (Garrett M. Brown), who has led a quiet and withdrawn existence with a kind and attentive caregiver, finds he must face some of harsh realities when this beloved caregiver dies.

Laura, (Rachel DiPillo), the caregiver's teenage daughter, is as kind as her departed mother and despite struggling with her own grief, and in the face of Frank’s denials, she observes his sadness and helplessness. Laura claims the task of finding a new caretaker for Frank, but this proves to be much less simple than it at first appears.

Preparing for a long-planned, post-graduation trip with friends Alisa (Hayley Kiyoko) and Kim (Mary Kate Wiles), and with no apparent options in sight, Laura has to agree to take Frank along on the journey. The road trip becomes a rite of passage for all of the participants - a catalyst which allows them to grow, bond and discover their own paths.

People with severe Tourette Syndrome exhibit physical ticks and profanity-filled outbursts. It’s the sort of condition that, if insensitively portrayed, can appear exploitative. However, in Hello, My Name Is Frank the filmmakers approach the condition matter-of-factly – there can be humour found in Frank’s outbursts, but these are not milked for comedic effect.


Garrett M. Brown is delightful in the title role. He allows us to see the man inside the affliction, despite his social awkwardness. He portrays Frank with sensitivity, finding humour in his situation yet never, ever, laughing at his character. We can see why Laura feels a connection to him - he is a sweet man who is aware of his challenges and yet his relatability remains undeniable. Brown makes the role his own.

Rachel DiPillo plays Laura as a young woman on the verge of adult life and asking questions about her future. She is genuinely caring to those around her but is also masking an overwhelming sense of grief. The supporting characters may seem a little clich├ęd - Hayley Kiyoko as the inevitable, rebellious ‘party-girl’ Alisa, with Mary Kate Wiles as Kim, her polar opposite, although Wiles gives a heartfelt performance as a conflicted young woman struggling to come to terms with the fundamentalist faith imposed upon her.

1986 Academy Award nominee Tess Harper (Crimes of the Heart) makes a brief appearance as Aunt Flossie, while Wayne Duvall (O Brother, Where Art Thou) plays the odious Preacher Alexander.

D.P. Tanner Wolfe films with sensitivity and allows the camera to capture the chemistry among cast members. The film also features an excellent soundtrack which augments the mood and tone.

With his first feature film, Peterson has crafted a winning, coming-of-age, ensemble comedy that weaves together touching and occasionally funny moments in the life of a man facing difficult changes, and allowing each character’s arc to develop as the film progresses.


Hello, My Name Is Frank has been picked up by indie distributor Vision Films for VOD release on May 17th. It has the support of the Tourette Association of America who stated "We are proud to support projects such as Hello, My Name Is Frank. This film portrays Frank as an authentic, relatable character and helps the audience see the human being behind the Tourette."

Hello, My Name Is Frank won the award for Best Dramatic Feature at the Manhattan Film Festival and is being released for U.S. Tourette Awareness Month.

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