Over time, as a society, we’ve developed these stereotypes for people of different race, titles and sexual identities. To some we see people in the LGBT community as loud and vibrant people who have enough sass – they could give Regina George a run for her money. Here’s the thing they are more than such stereotypes. It’s almost like the way we boil down blondes to being stupid but they are more than that as well. Even for the stereotypical sexual offender. We imagine this creepy gentlemen with a moustache, glasses and a white van. Truth is, they come in all shapes and sizes for circumstances some of us will never understand. Thus is the focal point of Bob Byington’s brand new independent darling, Frances Ferguson.
The movie focuses on the character of which the film is named after, Frances is a substitute teacher who ends up having an affair with one of her students and ultimately caught. Led to live out the remainder of her days a registered sex offender. Frances Ferguson is a bold, intelligent, and above all else: honest comedy. It has a tone, delivery and even some of the camera work of a previous indie darling in 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite. It’s as if that generation grew up to make this film. Throughout its’ short duration, Frances manages to give a complete story on life before, during and after the incident in question. Presenting a layer of depth and intelligence that most high caliber comedies miss. This is one not to missed.
Though above all else, Frances just feels original and a breath of fresh air from a lot of other comedies spilling out of Tinseltown at the moment. With a large portion of that, coming from the narration of Nick Offerman. Offerman’s narration makes the film feel more like a mockumentary set in the vein of Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping or This is Spinal Tap! Comedies that are now far and few between. Adding a talent like Offerman just adds to the film’s layer of individuality and originality within the same breath.
Though perhaps no talent shines as bright as lead actress, Kaley Wheless. Wheless completes envelopes the lead role of the sarcastic substitute almost to the point of sympathy. Wheless manages to take viewers on an emotional journey of redemption for the main character. Ferguson focuses on the journey of learning to love yourself again. With the final frames of the film, the journey feels both complete and as if it’s only just beginning. That is a massive credit to Wheless. Wheless is, without a doubt, incredible and turns in one of this year’s best performances.
Overall, Frances Ferguson, is a smart comedy that delivers an in-depth character study on a more stigma-based topic. Led brilliantly by breakout star, Kaley Wheless, with her charm and sarcasm – Wheless gives one of 2019’s best performances. When paired together with the narration by Nick Offerman, Ferguson only solidifies itself as one of this year’s must-see comedies. The dry humor set in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite mixed with the mockumentary storytelling of Pop Star give Ferguson one of the most unique voices out there. I promise, you’ve never quite seen a film of this caliber. Funny, sensitive, bold and honest – Frances Ferguson is pure gold of the comedy genre.