Fifty one year old widow Francis \"Frank\" Kennedy (Sinead Cusack) leads a boring life dominated by devout Roman Catholicism and an over-protective attitude to her university student son David (Matthew Newton). Her friend Jean (Lynette Curran) wants her to open a dress shop while David suggests she enrol in a course of some kind. After initial hesitation Frank enrols at the same campus as David, where conservative and chauvanistic Professor Mortlock (Sam Neill) seems determined to make her education as difficult as possible. After suffering humiliations culminating with the threat of expulsion, Frank takes on Mortlock while also confronting a personal crisis.
 

3.5
Too many story elements getting in the way of what the film is about.

Sinead Cusack plays Frances Regina Aileen Nano Kennedy, known as Frank. She`s a widow and she doesn`t really know what to do with herself, she`s depressed and she`s cranky. Her son David (Matthew Newton) tries to be supportive but it`s not easy when he`s got problems of his own, he`s in love with Jenny, (Rose Byrne) the girlfriend of one of his mates, David`s just a friend to her. And her daughter Margaret (Sasha Horler) also tries to cope but she`s got a family of her own. And then things change for everyone when Frank enrols at university - the university David`s attending... and gets Professor Mortlock (Sam Neill) as a lecturer.

So much of My Mother Frank is really funny and heartwarming. There are excellent performances from Sam Neill, Matthew Newton and Rose Byrne but Sinead Cusack lacks warmth as Frank, she plays her tough, making it difficult to evoke the sympathy that character needs. And there are just a few too many story elements to the point you start wondering just what the film is actually meant to be about. But that said this is another Australian film that has real riches to revel in, a funny, fond insight into the lives and aspirations of a mother/son combination that leads you into some unexpected places.