In her own words, fashion model Frankie is "a coat hanger that's about to be retired". Sadly for all concerned, the heroine of this monotonous drama can't be pensioned off soon enough. Opening in the nuthouse where Diane Kruger's titular protagonist has been sent after an unsuccessful suicide bid, Fabienne Berthaud's film backtracks to see how she came to this pretty pass. The result is as trifling as that précis implies, with shaky visuals as off-putting as their self-absorbed subject.
There's only so much sympathy one can have for a well-paid clotheshorse, whose only job requirements are to smile and be thin. Even this, though, is beyond Kruger's unhappy 26-year-old, painfully aware of her diminishing shelf life and her inability to satisfy the people who hire her. One extended shoot sees her bullied to tears, while an audition to play an angel leads to brutal insults about her weight. Help is at hand from kindly limo driver Tom (Jeanick Gravelines), though he alone might not be enough to stop her going over the edge.
"A TOUGH SLOG"
Shot over a couple of years between Kruger's Hollywood outings, on digital video that oscillates between bleached-out yellow and impenetrable grey, Frankie is a tough slog in whichever language its characters happen to be speaking. Yes, Berthaud captures the fashion world's heady glamour and hectic pace. But any credit she earns is rendered null and void by her decision to have real mental patients play Frankie's fellow inmates, a dubious ploy that smacks of cynical exploitation.
Frankie is out in the UK on 15th June