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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.78%
Worth A Look35.64%
Average: 29.7%
Pretty Bad: 8.91%
Total Crap: 3.96%

7 reviews, 59 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"An honest-to-goodness GOOD movie."
5 stars

People go to the movies for one or more of these reasons: to laugh, to cry, to feel suspense and excitement, or to feel warm and fuzzy. "Frequency" is the rare item that blends all of those into one fine-tuned, engaging movie, rarely missteping and never failing to deliver what it promises: drama, pathos, humor, and thrills, all blended seamlessly together.

In October 1999, a cop in Queens named John Sullivan (James Caviezel), living in the house he grew up in, finds his dad's old ham radio. On a whim he turns it on, and, through some cosmic fluke, starts talking to his dad, Frank (Dennis Quaid), exactly 30 years earlier. (They're even both sitting at the same desk.)

The reunion is bittersweet. John loved his fireman dad, who died in a blaze when John was still young, and is overjoyed to talk to him again. Frank is confounded at the idea of his son -- who is 6 years old and sitting in the next room -- talking to him as a 36-year-old in the future.

As luck would have it, that fatal fire is only two days away. John is able to warn Frank about it, and he survives. All are happy.

One problem, though. The instant Frank survives that fire, everything else in John's life changes. He didn't grow up fatherless anymore. His mother, Julia (Elizabeth Mitchell), was not widowed. Everything Frank does from then on is something he wasn't originally supposed to do.

The idea of changing the past and the future has been dealt with many times in movies, of course, and "Frequency" even borrows "Back to the Future's" trick of having people disappear from photographs. Where "Frequency" departs, though, is in its psychology: As soon as Frank survives the fire, John is flooded with a NEW set of growing-up memories, which include his dad dying much, much later, this time of lung cancer -- but he still remembers the "old" memories, too.

This becomes pivotal, as a serial killer in 1969 who murdered three nurses and was never caught, suddenly now had 10 victims (John, a cop, is privy to this information). Somehow, Frank living past Oct. 12, 1969, had a ripple effect that quashed whatever it was that stopped the killer -- and one of his additional victims is Julia, making it imperative that John somehow help his dad, 30 years in the past, catch the bad guy.

This leads to a climax that is nothing short of brilliant, a truly innovative experiment in jaw-dropping suspense and giddy sci-fi excitement. I won't spoil it; you'll know it when it happens, and you'll be thrilled at the ingenuity of it.

There is cleverness all around, in fact. The basic premise is interesting, as is the idea of "new memories" being inspired when the past is changed. Also, no film I know of has ever handled two stories, set in different times, so well, switching back and forth between them with absolute flawlessness.

The mark of a good story is to take a very specific situation and make it relevant to everyone. John and Frank's ham-radio reunion is an impossible scenario, of course. But strong, tearful acting from Quaid and Caviezel, not to mention sensitive direction from Gregory Hoblit, makes it universal: It's a boy getting one more chance to talk to his long-dead father. If you refuse to get choked up over that because of the implausibility of the science involved, then you need to go outside and come back when you're ready to behave.

The film's only mistake is its resolution, which is over-the-top sappy, complete with an unbearable Garth Brooks song. Up until that point, "Frequency" is genuinely heartfelt and innovative, a triumphantly original film that manages to thrill and uplift with equal deftness.

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originally posted: 07/04/03 14:19:17
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell lame as fuck 1 stars
8/05/17 Andrés Aot of non-sense 2 stars
8/31/13 EDDIED Good movie but it is illogical and follows no rules. Plus, the story changes midway through 4 stars
10/16/11 Monday Morning What's theRob Gonsalves - you're an ass, and not in a good way. 5 stars
10/29/10 Rolly Hyatt I really have nothing bad to say about this film. It's been a favorite of mine for a while. 5 stars
1/13/09 MJ Robles awesome! moving! enoyed it a lot! 3 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Kept me on the edge of the seat! 4 stars
1/29/07 Stanley Thai A great father and son movie with suspense. 4 stars
11/03/06 AJ Muller REALLY wish I'd seen it in theaters; exciting and funny and moving - flat out STELLAR 5 stars
9/17/06 hector you have to like this movie , if you pay attention to it 5 stars
3/19/06 great excellent and enjoyable 5 stars
10/19/05 Valerie really awesome! 5 stars
2/01/05 Edward Condon I enjoyed this alot. 4 stars
12/06/04 Lee Davis Better than 95% of what's on video 5 stars
8/13/04 Tsang Ho Yin damn entertaining, much better than i thought it would be 4 stars
5/04/04 R.W. Welch Ingeniously designed. Gets to be a bit much towards the end. 4 stars
3/07/04 rory very surprized. excellent film 5 stars
1/23/04 Abe Giesbrecht Loved it 4 stars
12/02/03 tatum Passable thriller 4 stars
8/18/03 Nevz i liked it 5 stars
8/02/03 A Dude I find it hard to believe that anyone can not, at least, enjoy this movie a little 4 stars
4/06/03 123 good and thrilling, xcept for the ending 4 stars
10/21/02 snowconehead If you can swallow the premise, digest the plot, you'll shit out pure gold 4 stars
8/08/02 Kino It was a shitload better than I expected. 4 stars
7/24/02 Dannielle I Think The Movie Was Excellent And Sad 5 stars
3/04/02 Marcia Lartz A stand-out in quirky pseudosciencefiction genre. 5 stars
1/10/02 FGJ180 Good, Solid, entertaining time travel movie, although the final twist is very corny. 4 stars
6/30/01 Peter Brook Lame plot twists, acting by numbers. How can anybody like this shit? 1 stars
5/15/01 Will don't think about the issues of time travel like a geek, and it becomes a pretty neat film 4 stars
4/12/01 YelloMiata@AOL.COM My wife was a step ahead of the movie, but in a good way. 4 stars
2/04/01 rentabeast hey, what can I say, cavaziel is from my home town, and the movie was excellent. get DVD! 5 stars
1/16/01 Elvisfan Quaid gets points for playing "Suspicious Minds" in the beginning; movie was good not great 4 stars
12/19/00 Monday Morning Sci-fi/mystery/thriller/family forumula A nailbiter with well done. 5 stars
12/08/00 Girl 9 You probaly won't hate it. Would've been better if they had thought of a better ending. 4 stars
12/03/00 scott wahls most underrated pic of the year, NOT AT ALL what i expected, guaranteed satisfaction! 5 stars
11/24/00 The EVIL Penguin it can happen to YOU! 4 stars
11/11/00 budin different from what i expected but a decent movie 4 stars
11/07/00 The Bomb 69 better than most Hollywood shit out there 4 stars
8/08/00 Mic Despite all the holes and sudden switch from human drama to pathetic thriller, still v.good 4 stars
8/04/00 Viking Shame about the ending !!!! 3 stars
7/09/00 Narf Suspend disbelief, and this is one very absorbing movie. Caviezel is Oscar-caliber. 5 stars
6/20/00 Carole Weird 2 stars
5/27/00 Jaime N. Christley Forget the plot holes -- a heartfelt speculative time-travel fantasy. 3 stars
5/22/00 Obi Wan Loved it...good flim not much hype to kill it!! But they should of pushed it to June/July. 4 stars
5/20/00 mahone If you want good time paradox thrills, read Stanislaw Lem! 2 stars
5/12/00 Thayer Bush Awesome Movie 5 stars
5/12/00 David Blumgart Aw stop bitching. If you can get down Keanu Reeves as 'The One' why're moaning about this? 4 stars
5/09/00 El Tigre I enjoyed it a lot. Though I do wish someone had taken some putty to those plot holes. 4 stars
5/04/00 Caleb Toby Awesome... some areas are uncertain, but overall good plot and great acting. 4 stars
5/04/00 Blackbird I could suspend disbelief until the climatic scene. 3 stars
5/02/00 GDB Nice movie if you aren't too anal about the reality's of time-space. 4 stars
5/02/00 PhilmPhreak I liked it. 4 stars
5/01/00 MrShowbiz The problematic plot will make you wish you tuned out of this genre-wingling mishmash. 1 stars
5/01/00 Malbert I thought this movie was very cool, except for the ending and the jerky camera 4 stars
5/01/00 The Rock the plot holes and ending were bad 3 stars
5/01/00 Captain Highcrime The opportunity to get very confused very quickly exists here, plus its a long road to haul 3 stars
4/29/00 Dennis Flutie this movie is a great movie so much that i woul'd tell my friends to go and Ill go home. 4 stars
4/26/00 Jason Kallelis Wow, its just like a good moive, only not. 1 stars
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  28-Apr-2000 (PG-13)



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