Frankie review – trouble in a Portuguese paradise with Isabelle Huppert

The famously stylish Isabelle Huppert spends a stretch of this handsome drama on her hands and knees. In the verdant foothills of Sintra, Portugal, ailing actor Frankie (Huppert) searches for the €40,000 bracelet her only son, Paul (Jérémie Renier), has tossed into the woods, rejecting her offer of a valuable family heirloom that could be cashed in after her death.

It’s that kind of film – one in which depressed rich people go on holiday to argue about death, inheritance tax, diamond jewellery and their deteriorating marriages. The approach taken by director Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange) is utterly sincere and so utterly humourless, though the performances are quietly compelling; Marissa Tomei brings a liquid warmth as Frankie’s American friend Ilene. Sachs plays on Huppert’s queenly presence too. It’s fitting that she gathers her nearest and dearest in a town that was once a sanctuary for the Portuguese nobility.

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