Frank & Lola

Dec 10, 2016

Another Michael Shannon triumph.

Frank & Lola

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Grade: A-

Director: Matthew Ross

Screenplay: Ross

Cast: Michael Shannon (Midnight Special), Imogen Potts (Green Room)

Runtime: 1 hr 28 min

by John DeSando

"Beware, my Lord, of jealousy, it is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on." Iago in Othello

Frank (Michael Shannon), a top-rated chef in Vegas, falls for young fashion designer Lola (Imogen Poots) and that's the beginning and end. That is, his uneventful life just became upended by a girl he needs to trust but doesn't appear to merit it. Such is the conflict and drama of this small, tense, and satisfying drama with just a hint of thriller.

While Frank & Lola is a modern romance fraught with uncertainty because the principals orbit by themselves hoping to collide with love rather than let it ripen.  The not-so-likely love between this older man and younger lost soul doesn't so much move on lust as it does on the couple's passion to do the right thing in the face of their defaults.

Lola's one-night stand and her admission to Frank start him into a spell of mistrust that propels the film thereafter.  The film's center is in Shannon's believably smart man tossed in jealousy and mistrust that leads to violence and uncertain rapprochement with her.  

Poots is marvelous as a lost soul looking in the wrong places--her eyes are the most soulful and vulnerable in cinema today. Shannon’s minimalistic acting relays the perfect hard-boiled hero of few words.  But be careful, he can see into your heart and with a word or two tell the whole sordid details of your innocence lost.

Frank & Lola is heavy on engaging dialogue and light on thriller action. Its strength is relaying how little we know about the ones closest to us.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at