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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Frankie and Johnny: A Film Review

What better place to set a romantic drama in than in a bustling Greek diner nestled in Manhattan? The customers are elderly folks who want their eggs runny in just the right way, the waitresses have a system for dealing with grabby male customers (“You pour, I’ll bump), and despite difficult pasts, a Shakespeare-quoting line cook and a guarded waitress from Altoona can find a love that develops in little flirty moments in between serving up tuna melts. Frankie and Johnny (1991), starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, doesn’t just excel in giving the audience a complex couple that aren’t in the prime of their lives, but from where the original play by Terence McNally had the action all in Frankie’s apartment, Garry Marshall’s direction sets most of it in the diner where they work, illustrating the film with a cast of wonderful, homegrown characters that make the film feel like home whenever I watch it.

Frankie, a waitress who comes to NYC after an abusive relationship, and Johnny, an ex-con who works as a short-order cook, have this crackling sexiness between them, this slow-burning attraction that keeps getting thwarted due to Johnny’s intense pursuit of Frankie and her refusal to let another man into the intimate spaces of her life. And through it all, their romance is egged on by the diner staff, as if they are the film audience wanting to see these two repair their broken selves and have a mature and loving relationship, complications and all.


  1. It's sublime, I love the ending with Debussy's beautiful "Clair de Lune" weaving it all together ... I would class Frankie and Johnny as a perfect film, it has everything.

    1. I really love it, too. I find it an interesting movie, and though I think Johnny comes on too strong in his advances towards Frankie, I still found their romance really powerful. The song was a nice way to end the movie. They're still not "fixed," but they are better together.