May I Be Frank?


This past Thursday, April 22, 2010, I went to the Rafael Film Center for a fundraiser for Beyond Hunger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recovery from eating disorders.

The movie I watched was “May I be Frank?”

The main character is Frank, a 54 year old man from the Bronx in New York. Frank walks into San Francisco’s Cafe’ Gratitude and is asked “What do you want to experience before you die?” Franks’ response; “I want to love again.” Then he looks at his body, points to his belly, and says, “Look at this body, who would love me? I don’t even love myself.”

This is the impetus for three young men, managers of the cafe, to become Franks’ coaches in loving himself. They decide to film his journey, which results in this compelling film.

Here’s what I loved about the film:

• It shows the story of a man who has body hatred, which humanizes this condition instead of making it a woman’s issue.

• We get to see masculine compassion and love in action as these three young men, along with the male owner of the cafe support Frank in making healthy changes.

• We witness Franks’ emotional response to body work which leads him to make amends to his brother.

• We watch Frank begin a daily practice of looking in the mirror and telling himself that he loves himself.

• Frank reaches out to his ex wife and works on having a healthy relationship with his daughter.

• We are told via text at the end of the film that Frank relapses on prescription drugs, goes to rehab, gets into a 12 step program, gets his PhD, and continues losing another 110 pounds. This shows us that it takes longer than 42 days (the amount of days filmed in the documentary) to make lasting changes.

Here are my concerns about the film:

• There’s a scene where Frank gets on the scale after about 3 weeks and has lost over 20 pounds. This could be an invitation for people to think that they should be able to lose that much weight that quickly, or start comparing themselves to Frank’s experience, and become obsessive about their weight.

• Frank’s documented colonics could be a trigger for people who could use them addictively, or some people may be uncomfortable with full nudity, and the graphic nature of a colonic process.

• Franks’ support team comes to his house and throws out most of his food. Frank will be eating only raw, organic food. This scene could trigger someone into thinking in terms of “good food” / “bad food”. This thinking can lead a person into feeling good or bad about themselves based on what they eat. This can trigger restrictive eating, that may be followed by binging and purging.

Here’s more about what I loved about the movie:

• The young men who coach Frank are “entrepreneurs of the soul”. They are moved to help Frank find love again. They write a clear letter of commitment. They have the inspiration to film the journey; they don’t let the fact that they know nothing about filming stop them!

• We see Frank’s imperfect attempts at resolving hurt relationships, and are cheering him on, hoping he can heal these important bonds.

• The scenes where Frank decides to make amends to his brother, and then does, are alchemy in action.

• We get to see a man transform himself from the inside out. Yes, he loses weight, but more importantly, he learns to love himself.

Unless you are in the midst of an eating disorder, or disordered eating behaviors that may get exasperated by the comments I’ve made in the concerns section, Go watch the movie!

Go here to find current screenings.

Blog question:
Have you, like Frank, ever felt that no one could love you because of your weight?

Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. She created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Michelle is finishing her book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, and her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the Self-Love Movement!

Gallery | This entry was posted in eating disorder recovery, movie review, Self-Love and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s