Review: Frankie and Alice

Halle Berry in Frankie and Alice

Frankie and Alice was panned by the critics, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the film itself. One critic panned it because it was finished in 2010 but not released until 2014. <sarcasm>Well, that sure seems like a good reason to hate a film to me. </sarcasm>

Spoilers ahead.

Stellan Skarsgård, Chandra Wilson and Phylicia Rashad in Frankie & Alice
Stellan Skarsgård, Chandra Wilson and Phylicia Rashad in Frankie & Alice

Frankie and Alice stars Halle Berry as a woman with multiple personality disorder. Her doctor is played by Stellan Skarsgård. Phylicia Rashad plays her mother and Chandra Wilson plays her sister.

I appreciated Halle Berry’s acting in this part. I saw The Three Faces of Eve way back in the 1950s. Joanne Woodward received an Oscar for her part in this multiple personality drama. In the 1970s I saw Sybil starring Sally Field. Sally Field won an Emmy for her portrayal of a woman with multiple personalities. More recently, Toni Collette won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her multi personality character in The United States of Tara.

Halle Berry received a Golden Globe nomination for Frankie and Alice, but didn’t win. She did win several lesser awards for her work in Frankie and Alice. Damn it, I thought Halle Berry was as good or better than any of the earlier three.

Halle Berry in Frankie & Alice
Halle Berry in Frankie & Alice

Berry killed it in every personality. Berry transitioned between one personality and another in an instant. Both Woodward and Field switched from one personality to another by pausing – staring into space – and then coming out of it as another woman. I don’t know if it was the Frankie and Alice director Geoffrey Sax or Halle Berry who decided that switching personalities need not involve the momentary space out, but I liked Berry’s way much better.

Frankie, the main personality, suffered two horrible traumas as a young woman. We learn about how these events affected Frankie as she learns about them, or remembers them under hypnosis. As she begins to understand herself, so do we. We see how her childhood and her relationship with her family played into her trauma, we see how race affected her trauma. (One of her personalities thinks she’s a white woman.) We see how her early friendships and first love caused her pain.

Frankie’s personality disorder could be said to come directly from the trauma of being black in America.

I enjoyed the film and found it impressive. It isn’t a perfect movie, but this is a good movie and a showcase for Halle Berry’s talent.

The Trailer

Images © Codeblack Films

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