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Academy Award winner Melissa Leo gives a fierce and restrained performance as Francine, a woman struggling to find her place in a downtrodden lakeside town after leaving behind a life in prison. Taking a series of jobs working with animals, Francine turns away others and instead seeks intimacy in the most unlikely of places. Gritty, elliptical, and voyeuristic, Francine is a portrait of a near-silent misfit and her fragile first steps in an unfamiliar world. -- (C) Official Site

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"While it's audacious on the part of the filmmakers (and of Leo) to keep Francine at arm's length from us, it makes the film a frustrating experience."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Melissa Leo plays her without inflection, giving us no instructions about what our opinion should be. It is a brave performance, an act of empathy with a sad woman."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Caught up in its own self-satisfied metaphor, its blank canvas and broadly sketched melancholic tones an empty vessel for those who would automatically turn the personal into the political."
‑ Brent Simon,
"Numbing, uninvolving portrait of an ex-con as an animal-loving zombie."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"As a 74-minute snapshot of an American at the low end of the struggling 99%, it speaks far more eloquently than poverty statistics."
‑ David D'Arcy, Screen International
"Francine portrays a woman on the socioeconomic margins and the sort of fiscal cliff that personalizes the phrase no politician can avoid these days."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
""Francine" is a small, detailed character study that never evolves into anything more."
‑ Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
"Petered out the perhaps promise of a psychological study or horror flick, halfway through 'Francine' nothing is left."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"In a character study of an ex-con who gives her heart and mind to animals rather than people, Melissa Leo's risky performance is ultimately framed with a disappointing, distanced pity."
‑ Bill Weber, Slant Magazine
"Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky, documentary makers trying their hand at drama, inspire a certain voyeuristic fascination toward the character but rarely sympathy."
‑ Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
"What with the unexciting hand-held camerawork, and the off-putting script and lead performance, "Francine" remains as frustrating as its inscrutable title character."
‑ Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post
"Leo provides a seasoned, lived-in naturalism that is as rarely displayed on screen as it is potent."
‑ Will McCord, Paste Magazine
"Francine marks the start of a promising career for the filmmakers, more than anything else demonstrating their eye for small moments."
‑ Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
More reviews for Francine on Rotten Tomatoes