Review: Frances Ferguson (2019 SXSW)

Title: Frances Ferguson
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Bob Byington
Starring: Kaley Wheless, Nick Offerman, Martin Starr
Runtime: 1 hr 14 mins

What It Is: Frances Ferguson (Wheless) was a substitute teacher. I say was because she used to be. You see Frances had an affair with one of her students. Now facing both jail time and divorce she really isn’t sure what’s next for her. One thing is for sure: She’s not a teacher anymore. Now struggling to find work (thanks to that felony on her record) she’s just trying to live her life…out of the spotlight, she brought to her small Nebraska town.

What We Think: This film is funny, quirky and downright great. Kaley Wheless’ coming out as a future huge star has arrived! Nick Offerman narrates this and his soothing vocals offer a stern telling of this tale. From a narrative point, the film only being 74 minutes means it moves along at an easy pace. A pace that feels like a day in small-town Nebraska would. The film has that indie look, you KNOW the one. It totally works for this. Byington is known for mumble-core fares like Infinity Baby and 7 Chinese Brothers. Here we get something a bit less mumbly and a ton more accessible.

Our Grade: A-, I enjoyed this! It’s a really funny film. One that is a bit dry for some peoples taste. In fact, at the end of the film, I found myself wondering what exactly I would grade this thing. I settled on the letter seen previously and I don’t regret it. One thing about this movie I loved was the song that played during the credits. It was a cover of the Drake song “Passionfruit” performed by singer Yaeji. I give this movie a recommendation FOR SURE. Trying to find it though…that’ll be the tough part.


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