Frank laughs through his tears. Drugs and booze have taken a toll. He’s divorced, depressed, and estranged from his daughter Lisa. He was “unreliable and emotionally unavailable” for years. The Brooklyn-born Sicilian’s one-liners are direct and honest.
Weighing 287 pounds, Frank has Hepatitis C, constant fatigue, aches and pains, and no sex drive. He takes a “fistful of pills” and drinks espresso all day. Clean and sober, he still needs help.
Café Gratitude to the rescue
Hearing Frank’s story, Ryland Engelhart, a server at Café Gratitude, asks, “What if you allow us to be your transformative cheerleaders?” Ryland, Conor Gaffney and Cary Mosier agree to guide Frank through a program of vegan meals, affirmations, coaching, exercise, checkups and body therapies.
Each day begins with wheatgrass juice, followed by a nutritional smoothie of coconut milk, green superfood, cacao powder, figs and dates. To support his emotional growth and spirit, Frank promises to journal daily in the Abounding River Personal Logbook.
Affirming change in the mirror
“I, Frank, do love me,” he begins. “I am a perfect human being, radiant beauty and divine energy. I am Divine. I now hold in my mind this new image of myself as a thriving, flourishing, gloriously beautiful human being.”
“Love like you’ve never been hurt,” someone tells him.
Eating raw foods
After the first glass of wheatgrass juice, “even motor oil would taste good,” he gasps. Matthew Engelhart, owner of the café, meets with Frank. “Practice being fulfilled now,” Matthew advises. “You create being fulfilled or not. It’s a moment-to-moment choice.”
Raw food is living food – vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds not heated above certain temperatures. This preserves enzymes and nutritional value. Frank begins to enjoy vegan enchiladas and salads.
The hero crashes. There are days when he can’t get out of bed. The coaches make house calls. “Resistance causes pain and lethargy,” he’s told. Regrets begin to surface. “I’m sorry I hurt so many people,” he cries.
Practicing generosity and gratitude
With joy, Frank gives his brother Izzy a motorcycle and riding jacket. He gives away clothes to the needy. “Love your life just the way it is right now,” the workbook tells him. “Accept the world and other people as they are.”
The camera follows Frank to colonic sessions, where he releases “an avalanche” of old, stuck toxins. “I feel thinner!” he exclaims. He drinks a gallon of water each day.
Frank stumbles and falls. He reunites with his daughter. He begins graduate studies in the Humanities. “The person I needed to fall in love with was me,” he realizes. (5 out of 5 stars)
May I Be Frank / 2010 / NR / 1 hour, 30 min
Cast Overview: Frank Ferrante, Matthew Engelhart, Ryland Engelhart, Cary Mosier, Conor Gaffney, ‘Izzy’ Angelo Ferrante, Dr. Joel Lopez, Anusha Amen-Ra
Director: Gregg Marks Co-Directors: Cary Mosier, Ryland Engelhart, Conor Gaffney
Genres: Documentary, Comedy