“Róise & Frank” comes to the M.V. Film Center on Friday, April 28. Written and directed by Rachael Moriarty and Peter Murphy, this charming Irish story is about Róise (Brid Ni Neachtain), a widow who lost her husband two years ago, and has withdrawn into grief. All that changes when a dog comes into her life. At first Róise rejects this stray, shooing him away. But the dog, kind and persistent, finds a way into her heart. She names him Frank after her late husband, and comes to believe that he’s a reincarnation of him.
She begins feeding the dog steak, another example of her attachment, and soon she lets him sleep next to her in her bed. Róise’s son Alan (Cillian O’Gairbhi) finds this arrangement disturbing, and reasons with his mother about her strange, even magical, attraction. Frank the dog finds other ways to make himself seem like Róise’s late husband. He pays a visit to Frank’s headstone in a cemetery.
Other members of the community take issue with Frank the dog’s human characteristics. A police officer on a motorcycle stops Róise and finds Frank in the front seat of her car instead of being restrained. He also discovers Frank doesn’t have a microchip, a requirement of all dogs. Taking pity on Róise as a widow, he nevertheless orders her to put Frank in the boot (trunk), a requirement Róise quietly avoids.
Maidhchi (Ruadhán de Faoite) is a neighborhood boy who practices hurling (an Irish team game) against a wall near Róise’s house before running off to catch the school bus. He’s made fun of by the other boys on the team because he’s not very good. Then Frank the dog comes into the picture, helping Maidhchi improve his hurling skills. It just so happens that the late Frank loved hurling and was talented at it, another example of how Frank the dog takes after the late Frank.
Donncha (Lorcan Cranitch) is yet another member of the community who comes into the picture, but not in a positive way. He has romantic feelings for Róise and invites her for a glass of wine, followed by an attempted kiss, which Róise rejects. Frank the dog takes issue with Donncha’s romantic inclinations, resulting in a fight. Donncha claims he’s been attacked by Frank, who he claims is a vicious stray that should be put down. In the meantime, Frank the dog has disappeared. He is, after all, a dog. Admittedly, he is a very special dog.
Information and tickets to “Róise & Frank” are available at mvfilmsociety.com.